Friday, August 10, 2007

D'oh! And No (Fisking Reuters)

The Commonwealth Fund's report claims that these folks comprise almost a third of those without health insurance (if one buys the 45 million number, which we've disputed numerous times). Of course this group of "invincibles" represent a disproportionate number of uninsured folks (whether by choice or not).
"Young adults, many who are [sic] just entering the workforce and can't afford the high cost of individual insurance."
Of course they can, but many (most?) choose not to spend their wages on something which they perceive (rightly or wrongly) as a waste of money. This is actually a much bigger problem than the report suggests: insurance carriers have strict participation requirements, mandating that a certain percentage of eligible employees sign up. When these "young invincibles" take a pass, the group suffers.
And there's a more insidious implication, as well: since the insurer essentially considers the premiums young folks (especially males) pay as "free money" (because their expected claims are so low), they help to subsidize older employees' premiums. One may argue the fairness of that situation, but not the fact that it is so.
Of course, young 'uns are the the beneficiaries of some of the most intense insurer marketing campaigns we've seen recently: Anthem's Tonik and UHC's Belay plans are aimed squarely at this demographic. And why not? They have disposable income and few responsibilities.
In a deft little sleight of (statistical) hand, Reuters also offers this gem:
"U.S. Census and other data cited by the report show 40 percent of the uninsured young are in households earning less than the federal poverty level."
And your point is?
Oh! It's an attempt to draw a correlation between two distinct groups of people: those who choose not to buy insurance (the 30%) and those who have access to myriad government-sponsored care (the 40%). Nice try, guys!
Frankly, the only really surprising thing here is that the 30% number seems low.
Au Contraire:
And finally, this little nugget: "the nonpartisan Commonwealth Fund."
Um, no:
According to, CF's Chairman, Dr Samuel O. Thier, donated $2,000 to John Kerry's presidential campaign (and $0 to Geo Bush's). And its President, Karen Davis, contributed some $600 to America Coming Together, a liberal advocacy group, as well as $250 to the DNC.
Now, there's absolutely nothing wrong with folks making political contributions as they see fit. But "non-partisan?" Hardly.
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