Saturday, August 22, 2009

The REALITY: One in Three Uninsured

These new numbers reflect reality more than the Census estimates, which count someone insured if they had health insurance for only one day of the year.

From Anima at DailyKos:

The non-profit, non-partisan group Families USA has been releasing state-by-state reports on the severity of the health care crisis in America since March. The reports detail: the number of people uninsured in each state at some point during 2007-2008; the number of families that will spend more than 10% of their income on health care costs in each state; the number of people who are currently losing their health care every week in each state; and a comparison of the rise in health insurance premiums against the rise of median wages from 2000 to 2009 in each state.

South Dakota came in with 184,000 uninsured... 27.1 percent!

But talk to your neighbors, these numbers are not that shocking to me.

The last of this series, comparing premium costs and median income, is currently being released, with 18 state reports out as of now. The remaining reports will come over the next few weeks.

I have no doubt we will get special distinction on that score.

UPDATE: In response to an anonymous comment, one in three is the NATIONAL figure. You would know this if you clicked the link.

And although if you calculate using an 804,000 population you something more like 22.8% is probably because the blogger probably used slightly stale population numbers in the state by state breakdown. The "one in three" national number is from the report, not the blog.

And a good chunk of South Dakota is covered by IHS, which of our existing single-payer systems is the only one that doesn't work very well-- not because it really "doesn't work" but because our nation is not honoring its treaty obligation to the Lakota people to fund it adequately. The other three I know about (Medicare, Medicaid and the VA) have their problems but are generally quite popular with their users. Hence the "keep the federal gov't out of "my medicare" comments we keep hearing.

And, also, this is a better measure of the uninsured than the Census definition...counting all who are out of the system for any time during the year. if you get cancer during that month that you are not insured, it doesn't really matter if you're chronically uninsured or not. You're still out of the system and the barriers to entry (outside of spending all your wealth until Medicaid takes over or waiting until you are 65) are considerable.

And (one of the things I'm hoping we can fix) your chances of getting any kind of insurance outside of a large employer risk pool are pretty slim, with any significant pre-existing condition or history. Its no wonder people do not seek mental health treatment when they need it -- it could render them uninsurable, so keeping it secret is an economic survival tactic.

If you are not part of a large risk pool, you are also in danger of being dropped because you reach some lifetime limit. Like a childhood leukemia in your family is your fault.

And don't get me started on the underinsured, which most of us are under the current employer-based system.

HALF of personal bankruptcies are related to medical bills. What is it folks don't understand?

(Actually I saw a recent statistic that 77% of Americans get it and want a public option of some kind, unless the question is skewed by industry reps by omitting the word "choice." )

Why not just open Medicare for an income-based price to younger people? It would sure make the risk pool cheaper for the Feds to treat, and provide a needed cash infusion to the system.

Insurance companies will not go away, they just won't have access to obscene profit margins at the expense of sick people. I don't see the market for Medicare supplemental insurance shrinking.


  1. Anonymous06:32

    First, since when is 27.1% equivalent to 1/3rd? To me, it seems to be closer to 1/4th.

    Second, with an estimate population of 804,000, wouldn't the percentage be approximately 22.8%?

    Third, this study is a bit of a red herring because it expands it beyond the chronically uninsured.

    I understand you have a point of view and your desire to push it, but I have usually been impressed with you intellectual honesty and this post is not up to your usual standards.

  2. See the update to the post.

  3. Good coverage and response, cp! Your intellectual honesty appears to be wholly intact.