Friday, 03 July 2009

CDC Reports on Insurance Coverage

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The U.S. Centers for Disease Control on July 1 released preliminary data for insurance coverage in America during 2008. According to the data, the percentage of Americans with private health coverage has fallen to its lowest level in 50 years. The percentage of Americans with private insurance in 2008 was 65.4 percent, a drop from 66.8 percent in 2007.

This drop of 1.4 percent is for all Americans under 65 years of age. A July 1 AP story about the CDC report rounded off the percents to 67 in 2007 and 65 in 2008, slightly exaggerating the difference. The AP story quoted Kenneth Thorpe, a health policy researcher at Emory University, as saying the data is “bad news.” But Thorpe also pointed out that those who lack private coverage are not necessarily uninsured. In fact, the percentage of those under 65 who have public coverage has risen from 18.1 in 2007 to 19.3 percent in 2008.

These numbers are arrived at by surveying 75,000 Americans. At the time of the survey, 14.7 percent of respondents of all ages said they were uninsured. The CDC estimates from this percentage that 43.8 million Americans are uninsured, 37.1 million being adults aged 18-64, 6.6 million being children under 18 years old, and the rest presumably being 65 or older. A higher percentage of children than ever before, though, are now covered by public plans, the figures rising from 32.7 percent in 2007 to 34.2 percent in 2008.

An interesting fact about the uninsured is that the percentage of Hispanic persons who were uninsured at the time of the interview was 31.5 percent. The figure was 10.5 percent among whites, 16.2 percent among blacks, and 12.2 percent among Asians. This makes the percent of Hispanic persons who are uninsured almost twice that of the next closest group, black Americans. This indicates that the illegal aliens who have crossed our southern border are inflating the number of uninsured persons in America.

The Pew Hispanic Center estimated in 2008 that there were then 11.9 million illegal aliens living in the United States. A Pew report on April 14 of this year estimated that 76 percent of all illegal aliens are Hispanic, which would indicate about 9 million persons. The fact that nearly one out of three Hispanic persons was uninsured, about twice the rate of any other ethnicity, shows that illegal immigration is significantly impacting the healthcare system in the United States by adding millions of people to the total number of uninsured. One way that President Obama has never mentioned for America to reduce the number of uninsured would be to reduce the number of illegal aliens of all ethnicities. Eliminating approximately 12 million people from the estimated 43.8 million uninsured would take care of more than one-fourth of the problem.

The CDC report brings a final realization to mind. One argument against a public, government-run insurance plan is that it would eventually displace private plans and become the only realistic option, essentially establishing socialized medicine here in America. The CDC figures indicate that this trend is already under way. In only the 10 years from 1998 to 2008, the percentage of Americans under age 65 who have private coverage has fallen from 72.0 percent to the aforementioned 65.4 percent. During that same 10 year span, the percentage of Americans under 65 who have public coverage has gone from 12.7 percent to the previously stated 19.3 percent. Establishing a public insurance option — “Medicare for the rest of us” — will only speed up the process.

For an interesting look at President Obama’s healthcare plan, see Judge Andrew Napolitano’s Freedom Watch program for June 24 featuring Congressman Ron Paul and Lew Rockwell of the Ludwig von Mises Institute. Their discussion touches on insurance and Obama’s public coverage option.



A transcript of the segment on healthcare is available at RonPaul.com.

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