Poverty in America – 2008 health insurance coverage
The record keeping for health insurance coverage is slimmer than for the other data in the Census Bureau’s report titled Income, Poverty and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2008. The data has only been kept for about a decade, and that decade has seen major changes in the American economy and the workforce. I am doubtful that the data is sufficient to support major policy decisions without a great deal of supplemental work.
The following table from the report illustrates three issues quite well. click for a larger image.
- The total number of Americans without health insurance in 2008 is 46.3 million. The percentage of those without insurance is 15.4%, up one tenth of a percentage point from 2007. The health care plan controversy is about 85% of the population providing coverage for 15% of the population.
- This item points to the ethnic group with the highest rate of uninsurance, Hispanics. 30.7% lacked health insurance in 2008, but that was an improvement of 1.4% from 2007. 212,000 Hispanics gained health insurance in 2008.
- Related to item 2, this piece of data points out that 20% of the uninsured are not U.S. citizens, 9.5 million people. For the category of non-citizens, 44.7% of them were uninsured in 2008. 226,000 more non-citizens did not have health insurance in 2008 as compared to 2007.
19 million Americans in the age range 18 to 34 have no health insurance. This is the age group frequently cited by pundits as usually not needing coverage. They’re generally young and healthy. Requiring them to all carry insurance is just redistribution of the cost burden. Adding all these healthy individuals to the health insurance rolls means that their premiums can be used to offset the health care costs incurred by other age groups where their premiums do not cover their costs.
The provision of health care coverage above and beyond any social safety net by the government must take into account several factors. The major factor is that only 15% of Americans are uninsured. What is the responsibility of society and our government to the overwhelming majority of people with coverage versus those without?
The issue of non-citizens is another important part of the health care coverage discussion. 20% of those without insurance are non-citizens. Do we provide coverage to these 9 million people?
The final issue is that of people who choose to not have health insurance coverage. This data does not reveal that statistic, but the sheer numbers of people in the 18-34 age group suggests that the number is fairly high. Requiring that people who don’t want it carry health insurance is merely a way to involuntarily supplement the premiums paid by those who use the coverage.
Table of contents for Poverty in America in 2008
- Poverty in America – 2008 overview
- Poverty in America – 2008 health insurance coverage
- Poverty in America – wage parity between the sexes
- Poverty in America – black poverty issues
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This entry was posted on Monday, September 14th, 2009 at 11:00 am and is filed under American Economy, Original writing, Analysis, Original writing, American Economy, Poverty. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.