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Health Care Debate: The Number of Uninsured

One of the main arguments in the socialized medicine scheme is the crisis-cult number of uninsured. That the number of uninsured is 47 million (1)

What is the definition of an "uninsured"? How many are uninsured? What are the components of the statistic "uninsured"? How many people are involuntarily uninsured?

What is the definition of an "uninsured"?

Common sense would indicate that an uninsured is a person without insurance. The definition of the term uninsured is: not covered by insurance. (2) Seems rather straight forward. Wrong.

The differing statistical measurements of those without health insurance in the United States use the following definition for "uninsured": have not had health insurance for one or more periods in the last twelve months. (3) (4) (5) Therefore, when you see a number within a news story regarding the number of uninsured, its not the true number of "uninsured" its rather the number of people that have not had health insurance for one or more times in the last twelve months.

Hence "uninsured", meaning not covered by insurance, is a much different concept than not had health insurance one or more times in the last twelve months.

How many people have been uninsured one or more times in the last twelve months?

That is a very good question without a sound answer. The statistical estimates vary from a high of 83 million to a low of 35 million. (6) (7) (8) (9) (10) In other words the statistic is very unreliable. The favorite number quoted is 47 million by proponents of socialized medicine. (11)

What are the components of the statistic "uninsured"

One must remember, from the discussion above, that "uninsured" does not mean without insurance. However, proponents of socialized medicine conveniently leave out the true definition as "uninsured" is so much more powerful a term when attempting to make their political case for socialized medicine.

Politics are in play concerning the term "uninsured". Politics are at the forefront of the lack of discussion by proponents of socialized medicine regarding what makes up the statistic "uninsured". One example of statistical component omission is the phenomena of voluntary uninsured vs. involuntary uninsured. (12) That is to say, a large group of people elect to voluntarily not own health insurance. This group of voluntarily uninsured are people that otherwise qualify for health insurance and have the ability to pay yet opt to not purchase health insurance. Moreover, this group is a component of the 47 million statistic when in fact they are not "uninsured" they are "voluntarily uninsured".

Are uninsured non-citizens part of the 47 million statistic? Yes. (13) (14) (15)(16)Hence uninsured non-citizens have not been removed from the 47 million statistic for political reasons as the 47 million figure would quickly decline and not have as much political impact for proponents of socialized medicine.

An additional component is the millions who qualify for taxpayer financed (government) health-care benefits offered but just do not take the coverage for a variety of reasons. (17)

Involuntarily uninsured

The 47 million figure is an unreliable figure which further includes voluntarily uninsured people, non-citizen uninsured, and voluntary nonparticipants in taxpayer financed and offered health care.

Then what is the number of involuntary uninsured? 16 million. (18) In other words, those US citizens that are uninsured which desire to be insured is the true "crisis" number which equates to 16 million. That is, the crisis is overstated by 31 million people.


The "uninsured" health insurance statistic is based on a definition different than the traditional definition of not covered by insurance. The statistic "uninsured" for health insurance varies widely. When that statistic is dissected into its components the real number of involuntary uninsured for health care becomes 16 million which means the popular figure of 47 million is overstated by 31 million.

Note: mentioned above is that the total number of uninsured is a very unreliable statistic and varies widely. A fifteen minute side presentation by Catherine Hoffman of Kaiser Family Foundation is highly informative in this regard. Link is here:

http://www.kaisered u.org/tutorials/CountingtheUninsured4/CountingtheUninsu red4.html


(1) http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/health/july- dec07/uninsured_08-28.html

(2) http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/UNINSURED

(3) http://www.kaiseredu.org/tutorials/CountingtheUninsured 4/CountingtheUninsured4.html


(5) http://www.kaiseredu.org/topics_reflib.asp? id=142&parentid=71&rID=1

(6) http://nooilforpacifists.blogspot.com/2005/06/health- care-facts-and-myths.html

(7) http://sanantonio.bizjournals.com/sanantonio/stories/20 09/09/21/story3.html

(8)http://www.realclearpolitics.com/printpage/? url=http://www.realclearpolitics.com/news/ap/politics/2 009/Aug/05/health_care_debate__how_many_actually_uninsu red_.html


(10) http://wiki.idebate.org/en/index.php/Debate:_Public_ins urance_option_in_US_health_care

(11) http://www.pbs.org/newshour/indepth_coverage/health/uni nsured/map_flash.html

(12)http://www.freedomworks.org/files/FreedomWorks% 20Issue%20Analysis%20Source%20of%20Insurance.pdf

(13) http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124579852347944191.html

(14) http://www.cis.org/articles/2000/coverage/coverage.html


(16)http://www.freedomworks.org/files/FreedomWorks% 20Issue%20Analysis%20Source%20of%20Insurance.pdf

(17) http://money.cnn.com/2008/04/29/magazines/fortune/colvi n_aetna_esuite.fortune/index.htm? postversion=2008050106

(18)http://www.freedomworks.org/files/FreedomWorks% 20Issue%20Analysis%20Source%20of%20Insurance.pdf