Who are the uninsured?

Sandy Szwarc, proprietor of JunkFood Science has an informative piece regarding the uninsured in America. You know, the 40 some odd million individual Americans without health insurance…

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.

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