Sunday, November 03, 2013


Real Figures

One of the reasons given for the need for the ACA was that 16% of the population of the US had no health insurance. That works out to about 46 to 48 million people. That's a lot.

But is it true? Let's ask the precise question. How many American citizens who want health insurance can't get it?

Well between 10 and 12 million of the 48 million figure were aliens, both legal and illegal and don't count towards the precise question of American citizens who want but don't have it. I'll split the difference between the range and subtract 11 million from the 48 and we're down to 37 million. Still bad but not as bad.

And remember, not having health insurance does not mean you are without health care. Get to an Emergency Room and they will treat you.

Of the 37 million left, just under 20 million were people who were temporarily without health care insurance. If they lacked it a single day of the year they were put in the inflated uninsured number. That's hardly a true depiction of size of the uninsured. Most people who lose their health care coverage through loss of a job or loss of coverage at work get it back. Even in the tough economic times since 2008, about 56% get health insurance coverage within 6 months. So only 44% of the 20 million figure are American citizens who want health insurance but can't get it within 180 days of losing it. So subtract 11 million from the 37 million left and we're down to 26 million, just over 8% of the population.

It turns out that some of the programs for providing free or near free health care to the poor (Medicaid and CHCP, for example) are under utilized, that is, not everyone who qualifies for the coverage actually takes the time and effort to sign up. It's a substantial shortfall--at least 2 million Americans.

So, we're down to 24 million.

But more than 18 million who are uninsured are young, healthy adults who make no effort to obtain it. That is, they don't want it or at least feel they can do without it; so, suddenly. the 48 million the ACA supporters were constantly hawking is down to 6 million or 2% of the American population.

It's bad to want to do the right thing and be unable. Every one of the uninsured could potentially become a tragedy (although three quarters of the bankruptcies for medical bills were people who had health insurance).

But it was not the horrible, life threatening problem for a large part of the population it was trumpeted before the ACA. In short, the uninsured number was a lie, one of the many the Obama Administration told repeatedly to con the voters into luke warm minority support of the bill.

And the idea that the ACA will get a lot of the 18 million young and purposefully uninsured to sign up is fantasy. It's hard to get someone who does not want something to sacrifice to obtain it. The fine tax on not having coverage is pretty much a joke. It's cheaper than getting the unwanted insurance and apparently it can only be taken by the government from a tax refund. It is easy never to have a tax refund by narrowly underpaying withholding or the quarterly estimates. Not allowing the insurers to notice pre-existing medical conditions doesn't help much either. The young healthy uninsured who begins to get unhealthy can buy Obamacare coverage after he or she gets sick. Why buy it when you don't need it when you can always get it when you do? Obamacare success depends on a sizable portion of the 18 million changing their short sighted ways and getting health insurance asap. Fat Luck.

The drafters of this train wreck legislation must have been super genuises.


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