Skip to comments.Number of Uninsured May Be Overstated, Studies Suggest
Posted on 04/26/2005 3:40:08 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
WASHINGTON The number of Americans without health insurance one of the most watched and worrisome indicators of economic well-being may be overstated by as much as 20%, according to research conducted for the government.
That could mean 9 million fewer uninsured, reducing the total to 36 million from the 45 million reported for 2003, the latest year for which data are available.
The over-count appears to stem from technical problems with the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey, but its implications could have broad consequences for the healthcare debate and for a federal child health program that uses survey data to allocate hundreds of millions of dollars to the states.
Politically, "there would be a lot less interest in dealing with the uninsured if it turned out there weren't so many," said Joseph Antos, a health policy analyst with the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank in Washington. "There would be accusations that [the administration] was rigging the numbers to make a serious problem go away."
Also, a recalibration could shift individual states' shares of a $5-billion pool of federal funds for providing health insurance to children in low-income families. Officials said the overall dollar amount of the pool would not change, but a state's share might rise or fall with new estimates of the number of uninsured children in each state. California is allotted $667 million from the program for 2005.
Reflecting the political sensitivity of the issue, the White House said President Bush was determined to expand coverage, regardless of the precise number of uninsured. Democrats have criticized Bush for not doing enough to stanch the loss of employee health benefits.
(Excerpt) Read more at latimes.com ...
(Denny Crane: "Sometimes you can only look for answers from God and failing that... and Fox News".)
It's just like inflated homeless numbers.
(Denny Crane: "Sometimes you can only look for answers from God and failing that... and Fox News".)
Social and environmental justice - but then, aren't they really one in the same?
There are a LOT of people I work with who choose to be uninsured because they are young and healthy and insurance is expensive.
These people show up in the numbers the same as the widowed mother of 5 kids.
As Americans, we all know, intuitively, that the economy and society are not as bad as the liberals want us to believe. So they use "statistics" to cloud the facts.
As a nation, we are in danger of "boy who cried wolf" syndrome where statistics will show a clear danger, but nobody will want to believe it.
Yes they do!
You make a good point but the msm can be counted on to keep the big government ball in the air.
I'm not a socialist by any means - but something has to be done with the health system - it is getting worse & worse.
One facet of this issue that is NEVER mentioned in any of these studies is that the uninsured poor are receiving government assistance for their healthcare. These studies always try to make it look like uninsured=no health care from any source, and that is not and has never been true.
Since these studies are used by Democrats to try to push government-run healthcare down all of our throats, one can say that the Democrats are actively trying to DECREASE the number of insured.
Third party pay has destroyed afforable health care.
I read an article yesterday (I wish I'd posted it now) about churches setting up clinics and assisting those who need their help.
Sorry, but I beg to differ. The uninsured WORKING poor DO NOT get government assistance for their health care - we are the ones who fall between the cracks. We're expected to pay the costs - or lose everything we've worked our whole lives to get.
You are correct and many of them refuse, or can't be bothered, to sign up for the assistance.
Right now I am paying over $620.00 a month just for me.I wasn't able to get in enough hours due to illness to keep my wife and son insured. To insure them would cost me another &650.00 a month, which I definitely don't have. I am looking into alternative healtcare providers. I don't want it for free but I would at least like to be able to afford it. OH, and I don't own a new car, don't go on vacations, etc.
I understand. We haven't taken a vacation in almost 6 years. We finally had to drop our health insurance because they were raising the cost over $50 every single year as we are getting older. It was finally either pay that premium every month (and still have to cough up the co-pays) or not pay my taxes. Even with the tax deduction for paying our own insurance, it still didn't help. Now, we pay every cost - & I have to take several medications - out of pocket.
We don't go out to eat anymore, we buy our clothes at Wal-mart & wear them until they have holes in them. We are both driving cars that are 7 & 13 years old (and pray they keep running at least 5 more years. We NEVER go out to the movies, blah...blah...blah...
Not looking for pity - just a little understanding that not everyone is lucky enough to have comfortable health coverage.
Here it is!
More churches entering field of healthcare
With a rising number of workers lacking healthcare, community clinics try to fill the gap.
By Amy Green | Contributor to The Christian Science Monitor
MEMPHIS, TENN. - Jessie McClure first turned up at Church Health Center a decade ago with a heart problem and no insurance. Today, the retired preacher says he doesn't know where he'd be without the clinic: "I'm doubtful I would be alive."
His voice is weak, his visage wizened, but he says he feels good, thanks to the clinic physician who has been his primary-care provider through it all. "He's been a lifesaver to me."
At the Church Health Center, the nation's largest faith-based, nonprofit primary health clinic, no insurance is no problem. It has treated tens of thousands of working people without health coverage in Memphis, one of the nation's poorest big cities. They are employed by businesses that don't offer health benefits or that hire part-time workers who can't afford health-plan premiums.
Across the country, community clinics are playing a bigger role in the nation's healthcare. Some are faith-based, like this one; some not. Some accept government funds; some don't. Some treat patients free of charge a few times a week, some offer broader long-term care like Church Health Center.
What they have in common is this: They are all trying to fill a growing gap in healthcare coverage. As of 2003, the number of full-time workers who got health benefits from their employers had dropped to just 60 percent.
"The cost of healthcare and insurance continues to go up, and more and more companies are not paying," says Bruce Jackson, executive director of the Christian Community Health Fellowship, a Chicago-based group dedicated to care for the poor. What Memphis's Church Health Center is doing, he says, "is a model."
Community clinics are also rising in number, in part, because churches are experimenting with new roles in their public ministries - including a growing focus on caring for the poor.
Here in Memphis, patients are treated at low cost by a small staff of doctors, dentists and nurses - some whom have accepted salary cuts of up to $70,000 to work at the clinic - and by a citywide network of more than 400 volunteer physicians who see patients in their own offices or at the clinic on evenings and weekends. The patients' medicines are donated by drug companies and others. The clinic is funded by various organizations, including churches and business foundations.
It is a grass-roots response to a rapidly changing healthcare landscape. Some 31 million were uninsured when the clinic opened in 1987 with 12 patients. Today, that number is 45 million.
"The need for it has become unbelievably important," says Dr. G. Scott Morris, the clinic's founder and executive director. "The problem has penetrated into the middle class."
In Tennessee health providers are bracing for even more uninsured. To remedy spiraling costs that had thrown the state budget into turmoil, the governor introduced a plan to alter TennCare, the state's health program for the poor and uninsured. A federal appeals court recently cleared the way for the cuts, which would eliminate care for 323,000 people. Critics say the cuts would be the biggest ever to a state health program.
Mr. Morris is passionate about his belief that it is the church's duty to step up. He grew up in Atlanta and was drawn to the church early, but loathed the idea of preaching. He became a United Methodist minister, went to medical school, and began traveling the country for ideas on starting a health ministry. He eventually settled in Memphis because of its high poverty rate.
"He's quite a visionary," says David Jennings, a full-time physician at the clinic.
The clinic is in many ways typical: Morris believes his patients should get the same quality care as their more affluent, insured counterparts. The waiting room is sunny and spacious. Toys litter the floor. Patients who call first thing in the morning are seen the same day.
But when it comes to payment, this operation is different. The clinic treats the working uninsured, children, and the elderly, and working-age patients must show proof of employment. Payment is based on a sliding scale, because Morris believes patients want affordable care, not a handout.
The clinic also offers training to congregations on building health ministries and to communities on how to replicate the clinic. In its eight years, the training has spawned at least 25 other clinics nationwide. Church Health Center accepts no government funds. It also offers a low-cost health plan to small businesses and the self-employed.
The clinic is ecumenical and steeped in the idea that spiritual health promotes physical health. A wellness center called Hope & Healing has a room where prayer groups gather. Nutrition and health classes open and close with prayer. In the clinic's waiting room the verse James 5:14 is painted on the wall: "Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him."
Deadrick Carroll, who has been visiting Hope & Healing for a year, says the spirituality has motivated him in his rehabilitation from an aneurysm that left his left side partly paralyzed. Doctors told him it was unlikely he would ever walk again. Now he walks with a cane, and his slurred speech is hardly noticeable. "My spiritual strength gives me the confidence and fortitude to say, 'Hey, I'm not going to settle for this,' " says Carroll, perched on a weight machine. He is jobless, is drawing disability benefits, and is covered by his wife's insurance.
The clinic's 80,000-square-foot wellness center opened in 1996 after clinic doctors found that two-thirds of their patients had been diagnosed with illnesses considered preventable. The center is available to clinic patients and the community. There is a fee for membership, but some programs are free.
Mr. McClure, the retired preacher from nearby Forest City, Ark., is now on Medicare. But he doubts he could afford all his medicines without the clinic's support. It can be embarrassing to need help paying for healthcare, but he says that Morris, his "lifesaver," puts him at ease.
It's like the "homeless".. there are homes, there are jobs and there is the ability to get your act together to join the many factors that will get the homeless off the streets.
like stop taking drugs, drinking till your falling down drunk, take your psych meds and wake up before 11 a.m., turn off the television at the shelter and get off your a#@. ...... or don't. If an illegal can find a job, then a homeless bum can. 'nuff said.
Check into a high deductible plan. With a $5000 or $10000 deductible, the insurance is much cheaper, but there if you have a major disaster. Such catastrophic health care will still have most doctor visits coming out of pocket, but the monster bills will be mostly covered.
Then save money toward your deductible, and keep it there.
IIRC, self-insurance for the self-employed is also tax deductible, at least in part, if you have no employer based plan to choose.
I've never trusted the numbers since they were cooked up during the battle for 'Hillary care' back in the early 90's.
Really? Hating to admit it on this forum, but I've never had private insurance. In my early life, my family was the working poor, and my health care was at government expense. When I moved out on my own, into an apartment, the first thing I did was go to the state welfare office and sign up for Medi-Cal, and, yes, I was working. Then I joined the military and married a military man, at that point guaranteeing that I would always have government health care.
Now waiting for the cries of "Hypocrite!"
This sounds like a wonderful program! I wish they had something like that where I live. I think if Jesus were around today he would be telling the churches to do more to help people in their own community - food, shelter, clothing & healthcare - no one should have to do without these things in America. I think it's the church's calling to help in such things.
Perhaps if one called one of these churches they could find out if there was a similar church clinc in their area and if not, how could one be started.
That's a great idea. My dad is a deacon at a large church in my city. I'm going to show this article to him.
Oh I have cable tv, thats about it.I can't get healthcare for that 41 bucks a month.
Give me a break! Scum-trash like that - they are getting free medical care!!! Don't try to put me in that class!
I don't smoke cigarettes, I don't drink - I have basic cable, not HBO or Showtime, etc. I have a cell phone, which doubles as my house phone - I haven't partied in 20 years & my one big luxury is internet access. Add up all those things & it still doesn't equal the $800 a month I was paying for my health insurance. That's obscene that a family should have to pay that much for health coverage.
I have never in my life taken a penny from the government for unemployment, welfare, etc. Have always paid my own way, never defaulted on any loan. But right now, I'm very tempted to get on the government "gravy train". I know lots of able-bodied people taking that ride. That's part of the problem we have with Social Security now. Too many frauds.
Third party pay has destroyed affordable health care.
Good point. The problem is not a lack of insurance, it is too much insurance. When everything is paid for (in economic terms, when the marginal cost is zero) demand will be infinite. Insurance should only be to protect us from disaster.
If, and I do mean if, the government needs to become involved it should only be through some form of catastrophic coverage such as paying out when your medical expenses exceed some portion of your gross income. This would protect people from disaster but still leave plenty of room for price sensitivity and market responses. Medical Savings Accounts (MSA) could be one part of this, but I have not heard much about them lately.
How about the inflated numbers of the people dieing from obesity. It went from 300k per year to 26k.
Yup. When my mom was a school teacher the school kept track of "homeless" kids (for freebie like lunch, etc.). She said she had several "homeless" kids in her class every year because the kids lived with their grandparents.
My daughter, who earns a mere $7.00 per hour as a day care worker and is also the victim of a deadbeat dad, receives Medicaid.
I recommend you look into it more extensively.
and the overstated numbers by the CDC about obesity. More "Fear Uncertainty and Dread" reporting to get more funding or increase awareness for an advocacy group that probably truly doesnt represent the people they are being advocates for. Like the Teachers Unions, for instance.
Catastrophic Health care savings accounts are now available and they can save you bookoos of money.
You should check into the tax free health care savings accounts along with only catastrophic insurance. Will save you money.
I just wrote a blog piece on this story at www.neoperspectives.com
The Urban Institute is not a 'non partisan org' and this guy, Uwe Reinhardt is a huge lib.
Thanks to whoever posted that CSM story, I used that too.
If you want to lower your costs, then do something about the overhead.
How about a couple of BILLION to non citizens that don't pay bills but provide us with cheap labor and costs of services and products... what's the trade off man???
If you live in a big city, or by a university with Med school then go to their clinics...
And the good thing about it is, it isn't free. People pay on a sliding scale.