Democrats Have Incorrect Data

Posted on September 05, 2009

To the Editor: I would like to correct some of the information presented by the Avon Lake Democrats in their letter. The Census Bureau statistic of 47 million uninsured Americans is very misleading. Most of these uninsureds are between jobs and without insurance for only a few months at a time.

Almost 18 million of the uninsured make more than $50,000 a year and almost 10 million of them have an income of more than $75,000 per year. In other words, 38 percent of the “uninsured” could afford to purchase health insurance but don’t do so. The Census Bureau’s breakout figures show that more than 10 million of the people considered uninsured by the U.S. government aren’t U.S. citizens at all. Some political commentators have estimated that the number is as high as one in four.

As many as 14 million of the 47 million uninsured—poor and low-income Americans—are fully eligible for government assistance programs like Medicare, Medicaid and SCHIP. The problem is, they’re just not enrolling in these programs.

Over the past 10 years, the situation for low-income uninsured Americans has gotten better, not worse. According to the Census Bureau’s report, the number of households with annual incomes of less than $25,000 who lack health insurance has gone down steadily since 1998. Surprisingly, the fastest-growing segment of the uninsured is households making more than $75,000 a year. For these people, it may be a lack of planning and responsibility, not a lack of access, that is preventing them from being insured.

So it’s not 47 million Americans who are uninsured. A more accurate estimate is about eight million. The need for a complete overhaul for the medical delivery system which the Democrats are sponsoring is based on incorrect data. This is not to say that some changes in the health insurance system aren’t necessary. They are. But the proposed bills represent an over-reaction to misleading information and should be retracted in favor of more moderate and realistic proposals.

Dr. Joel S. Keller, North Ridgeville