03 March 2009

The Fairness Doctrine, Movin' Meat Edition

In which I cite an organization I generally disagree with.   The conservative American Enterprise Institute has a fact sheet about the uninsured.   It's actually pretty good stuff, and fairly accurate, without significant discernible bias.   I might disagree with the summary a bit, and some of the spin, but the body of the work passes my sniff test.   Kudos to them.

Interesting tidbit:
Q. Do many higher income people choose to be uninsured, even though they could afford to buy coverage?
A. Surveys suggest that one of the more significant sources for recent annual increases in the number of uninsured Americans involves persons in relatively higher income households. According to the CPS, more than 17.6 million uninsured live in households earning more than $50,000 a year, and household income is above $75,000 for more than 9 million uninsured. However, those numbers overstate the actual income available to those uninsured individuals, because household units are defined more broadly than are insurance purchasing units. As the composition of “households” changes, their income isn’t the same as family income available for spending on health insurance. The rising cost of coverage remains the primary barrier to insurance coverage for the uninsured, and in some cases, its value just may not be “worth it” for those in higher income families. But a more narrow and consistent measure of the higher income uninsured is closer to 2 million, involving people with regular incomes over $50,000 who lack insurance for spells of more than a year.
The author does not show his work in paring that 17 million down to 2 million, but the rest of this seems spot on.  Note that "the rising cost of coverage remains the primary barrier," which argues against the commonly cited belief that higher-income people simply "choose" not to purchase insurance.  I also like this graph, which I have seen before from NCHS:
Annual Rate of Emergency Department Visits by Expected Source of Payment.jpg


3 comments:

Nurse K said...

Note that "the rising cost of coverage remains the primary barrier," which argues against the commonly cited belief that higher-income people simply "choose" not to purchase insurance.

Shadow, it IS possible to choose to not purchase something due to price. When you have an upper middle class income, it is possible to scale back your lifestyle to accommodate insurance, but people choose not to.

little d, S.N. said...

I wonder how many of the ensured have "adequate" coverage, and how many are catastrophic only...

Rogue Medic said...

Cost is one factor in all purchasing choices. If the insurance were much cheaper, many would choose to be covered. If the cost were much higher, many more would choose not to be covered.

The part of the equation that many do not look at is, what does this insurance protect me from?

If the potential purchaser does not think that the insurance will be effective at protecting him from bankruptcy. Once bankrupt, he will no longer be able to afford to pay for the insurance. The current value of that insurance may be seen as much less than the cost.