I have always been skeptical of this number and, in fact, wrote a piece about it on a different blogsite during the lead up to the 2004 Presidential election. However, Ms Szwarc has done a much more thorough analysis. Here are the essentials of who, exactly, is considered uninsured in America:
1. Individuals who can afford to buy insurance but choose not to do it, 37%. “17.04 million without health insurance live in households making more than $50,000 a year. That’s 37% of the uninsured in the U.S. Nearly 9 million of those make more than $75,000.”
2. Non-Americans, 20%!. “Another 9.5 million of those listed among our uninsured, according the Census Bureau, are not citizens of the United States. That’s 20% of the uninsured in our country.”
3. The bullet-proof among us, 40%. “According to the Census Bureau, more than 18 million of the uninsured are people between the ages of 18 and 34, for whom health insurance isn’t a priority and they’ve chosen, wisely or not, to spend their disposable income on other things.”
4. Already eligible, but not participating, 33%!! “the Congressional Budget Office found that “33% of the uninsured in the U.S. are eligible for public health coverage programs” but had not enrolled. A 1997 study by the American Academy of Pediatrics found 25% of eligible children hadn’t been enrolled . . .”
“So, how many have actually fallen through the cracks through no fault of their own, and are unable to find affordable insurance?” According to Sandy, the number is closer to 7%, or approximately 3 million people, which is somewhere around 1% of the U.S. population.