Thursday, July 19, 2007

More Bad Math

There's an old saw about beating a dead horse, and since we recently wrote on the topic of the mysterious 45 million, this may seem a bit insensitive. But facts are stubborn things, and when we debate the nature and severity of the "health insurance crisis," it's helpful to define and quantify it.
There is no crisis.
A crisis is defined as "an unstable or crucial time or state of affairs in which a decisive change is impending." Now, if there were truly 45 million people without health insurance (which, as we've explained ad nauseum, is not the same as lacking access to health care), then perhaps we'd have a crisis.
The number of the uninsured who aren’t citizens is nearly 10 million on its own
The Census “underreported” the number of people covered by health insurance – meaning that more people have insurance than the report suggests
The Census also underreported the number of people covered by Medicare and Medicaid
(A)ccording to the same Census report, there are 8.3 million uninsured people who make between $50,000 and $74,999 per year and 8.74 million who make more than $75,000 a year
Thus, "(s)ubtracting non-citizens and those who can afford their own insurance but choose not to purchase it, about 20 million people are left – less than 7 percent of the population." So how can we seriously discuss a "crisis" when over 93% of the relevant population is covered?
But that's another old saw.
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