Tuesday, September 30, 2003

On the Uninsured

A few thinking notes related to today's release of uninsured Americans:

  • up to 43.6 million from 41.2

  • These are people uninsured for the entire year. If you had coverage in January 2002, lost your job in February, and coverage evaporated by say, May (COBRA makes it possible to avoid this state of affairs and remain insured, if you've got the money) then you're not included in this number.

  • The uninsured are not the poor, they are not children, they are not elderly. Generally speaking. Children are uninsured, but by far less than the national average (Medicaid and CHIP). The elderly are basically insured (Medicare). The poor, through Medicaid, etc, are covered (not all, but many).
  • The uninsured disproportionately work. As in full time, regular jobs. Working just doesn't pay, their job doesn't take care of them.

  • It's an odd problem. One political analysis says the middle class won't support universal coverage because it increases their costs without upping the benefits. But this isn't quite right. The uninsured are part of the middle class (the broad middle class). The uninsured are workers who have found a net to cover their kids and parents but leave themselves exposed. It's curious.


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