Health Care Reform Law Targeted Wrong Group

Posted on September 24, 2010

Though a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau says that 50.7 million Americans went without health insurance last year (Sept. 19: “Nashua feeling effects of nation’s rising poverty rate”), this statistic doesn’t provide a complete picture of the nation’s uninsured.

A 2009 study co-authored by Dr. June O’Neill, who served as the director of the Congressional Budget Office from 1995-99, showed that nearly half of uninsured Americans aged 18 to 64 could likely afford to purchase health insurance.

While the labor market has since changed, the conclusion is the same: Millions are presently uninsured by choice.

Instead of passing a costly health care law that requires almost everyone to purchase insurance – even people who don’t want to – Congress should have focused specifically on Americans who wanted coverage but couldn’t afford it.

Michael Saltsman
Research Fellow
Employment Policies Institute
Washington, D.C.