But Now You Know

The search for truth in human action

Who Are the 47 Million Uninsured?

Not everyone in our country has health insurance...but the reasons aren't what you're led to believe.

Not everyone in our country has health insurance...but the reasons aren't what you're led to believe.

EVERY TIME someone spouts the “forty seven million uninsured” number, show them this.

You routinely hear that claim in the health care debate, but, for some mind-boggling reason the opponents of nationalized health care rarely, if ever, stop to point out exactly WHO is being counted in that number.

When you’re deciding whether we should be forced to surrender our remaining medical freedom of choice to make coverage “universal”, consider who these “uninsured” actually are:

The Breakdown

The largest, overlapping, groups of uninsured in the US include:

  • 9,000,000 Millionaires
  • 27,000,000 people who make more than $50,000 per year, but choose not to get insurance
  • 22,000,000 Young adults who can afford insurance, but choose not to
  • 14,000,000 People who can already get medicaid, but choose not to
  • 11,000,000 Illegal Immigrants
  • 23,000,000 People who are actually insured. That’s right; you’ve been lied to…surprised?

This adds up to more than forty seven million, because of the overlap – for example young adults who are millionaires and change insurance companies fit into four categories, above.

Let’s check out the details:

Millionaires: The kind of health insurance you get from employers, these days, is actually pretty self-defeating…it makes you pay thousands of dollars per year, and in return you get tens of dollars worth of coverage on office visits and other routine care. The US has more millionaires than the rest of the world combined, and if you’re one, you’re not going to bother paying a premium every month, to avoid the much smaller annual checkup fee. Of the nine million millionaires, many wisely ditch routine health insurance entirely.

$50,000+: Of course this applies, to a lesser extent, to many people who make more than $50K, twenty seven million of whom choose to be ininsured. They don’t bother with health insurance, because they can pay for checkups out of pocket, no problem. Especially if they are…

Young Adults: Two thirds of the “uninsured” not skipping out on medicaid are between 18 and 34. Those people feel, and are statistically correct, that they’re probably not going to need the insurance, anyway. Why pay $2,000 per year for insurance when you’re going to go ten years without even getting a checkup, and have not a single ill effect from it? Sure, they’re risking the rare catastrophe…but it IS rare, and anyway that’s their own fault and choice.

Medicaid-Dodgers: If you get on medicaid, you have to pay some small token premium…but if you choose NOT to pay that premium, and then you actually get horribly ill, you can actually sign up on the spot and still get covered, having essentially gamed the system and won anyway. So why ANYONE would bother signing up ahead of time escapes me. Fourteen million are smart enough not to.

Illegals: I don’t like how restrictive our immigration laws are, but nonetheless they ARE among the few legitimate functions of the Federal government…and, more importantly, anyone in this country illegally is CHOOSING to live a life that will essentially make insurance impossible to legally get. There are about eleven million of these people, and “uninsured” surveys don’t filter them, in fact they sometimes specifically count them. That’s their own choice and problem. Legitimate taxpayers shouldn’t have to support them.

The Insured: In fact, the majority of the “uninsured” who aren’t gaming medicaid ARE INSURED ANYWAY. See, the fearmongers who came up with these deceptive numbers are including anyone who changes insurance companies in a given year as being unisured for that year. This is because, legally, there is some point (even if it’s only one instant at midnight) where you are covered by neither policy. Therefore, twenty three million of the “uninsured” are actually insured for almost the entire year.

COBRA Fakes Uninsurance

Under the category of “actually just switching insurance”, anyone who changes employers is automatically covered by COBRA…but it is retroactive. They can simply choose to be “uninsured” for up to two months, rather than paying prematurely for the COBRA, in case they get another job…if something goes wrong and they decide to “get” COBRA, it becomes retroactive for the entire two months. So they are counted as “uninsured”, but just like medicaid-qualified people, they actually ARE insured, just skating on the payments.

This really shows the depth of the “millions uninsured” scam, because it means that when COBRA was passed, more  people became insured (anyone who has lost a job, for at least two months), yet the COUNT of “uninsured” actually went up.

Who is Left Out

Of course the examples of who are supposedly uninsured are equally deceptive…usually the fearmongers spout off about old people and babies.

The wealthiest segment of Americans are the elderly...yet they oppose limiting medicaid/medicare to those who actually can't afford to pay their own way. This richest group of Americans takes money from poor working Americans for their "Free" health care

The wealthiest segment of Americans are the elderly...yet many of them oppose limiting medicaid/medicare to those who actually can't afford to pay their own way. This richest group of Americans takes money from the poorest working Americans for their "Free" health care.

But, in fact, less than four percent of the elderly are “uninsured”, and of course 100% of those either are wealthy (the oldest fifth of Americans are the RICHEST fifth of Americans), or are covered by medicare/medicaid, since they’re…old. Either way, they just choose not to get insurance.

And, of course, ALL “children without health insurance” have parents who fall into the six categories above, or are directly covered by special plans for children. One hundred percent.

Who’s Actually Not Covered? Perhaps Nobody…

What’s more, in my effort to find a number for people who are actually uninsured, but NOT covered by medicaid, NOT making over fifty thousand per year, NOT choosing to ditch insurance because they are young and invulnerable, and NOT an illegal immigrant…I couldn’t find any, at all. The number is so small that it’s not even worth citing by the socialists, assuming it’s above zero in the first place.

Demand that they come up with an actual number, before we take them seriously on the claim that we surrender our remaining medical freedom in order to have “universal” coverage. Should we suffer the wait for treatment like Canada in order to save just five percent of the population from themselves? Two percent? One percent?


August 5, 2009 - Posted by | Economy, Family, Health, Politics, Society | , , , , , , , ,


  1. I greatly appreciate all the info I’ve read here.

    Comment by Lucas Schaunaman | February 28, 2012 | Reply

  2. health insurance should only be taken from reputable companies, you really don’t want to get it from fly-by-night companies ~:*

    Comment by Gear Knobs | November 16, 2010 | Reply

    • That may well be true…but that’s for the consumer to decide. When government sets a minimum standard, it always does exclude at least some things that would have been useful to those who cannot afford to pay for the options that pass those standards.

      Comment by kazvorpal | November 17, 2010 | Reply

  3. of course health insurance is very much essential for your own sake;’,

    Comment by Compact Fluorescent Bulb : | October 28, 2010 | Reply

    • > of course health insurance is very much essential for your own sake;’,

      No, it is not.

      Catastrophic health insurance, that covers ONLY massive, unexpected problems like cancer or a horrible car accident is a good idea, but not absolutely essential until your thirties, or at least you have a family.

      Any health insurance beyond that is actually overinsurance. For example, if your insurance is paying for your well-care and checkups, then you are squandering money, because you pay the insurance company FAR more for those visits than the doctor would charge you, directly.

      Comment by kazvorpal | October 29, 2010 | Reply

  4. […] You routinely hear that claim in the health care debate, but, for some mind-boggling reason the opponents of nationalized health care rarely, if ever, stop to point out exactly WHO is being counted in that number.MORE […]

    Pingback by The rest of the story « USA in Exile | April 12, 2010 | Reply

  5. […] already have health insurance but, because of technicalities, get counted as uninsured anyways (See this for an explanation). Now I understand that at least some of the cost is going to be simple […]

    Pingback by Not Yet the End of the World « Nolo Promittere | March 22, 2010 | Reply

  6. The nature of insurance is exclusive, which is really the reason Obama’s plan will not work. If the US is serious about filling the healthcare gap, it would deepen the capacity and targeting capability and of its general hospital system. It would probably be cheaper anyway.

    Comment by Stefan | September 12, 2009 | Reply

  7. I love people who say they demand references for cited material so they can decide for themselves. There is no limit whatsoever of available material to cite from that is pro or con on any subject whatsoever – no matter how, what, when, where, why or who we are discussing. For somebody to say they can decide for themselves suggests they too have researched the same data and have chosen empirical authority based upon either some leprechaun reading of tea leaves or else they are demonstrating their own arrogance is more justified than your legitimate research. You most often find challengers against your research demanding references for cited statistics typically have done .01% as much computation let alone cogitation in general on your subject and have little or no concept of target audience or intent of debunking the hype presented by the mainstream majority. It will never cease to amaze me how so many people think it has to be the majority’s opinion for anything to merit believability as truth – regardless of how much research is done to establish factual statistics. Kudos to you for an excellent piece that requires lack of education to rebuke.

    Comment by J. Munyon | August 29, 2009 | Reply

  8. Please do cite the references. I have tried to follow the links to the related web sites, but they seem to reference the same numbers without any attribution(s).

    There are a lot comments of an anecdotal nature on both sides here.

    Comment by Superchuy | August 23, 2009 | Reply

    • The links above are either mainstream sources (the Washington Times, for example), or contain links to them. For example, the New York Times entry above links to this Census Bureau compilation of insurance stats:

      Click to access p60no235_table6.pdf

      Which, for example, shows that the overwhelming majority are young adults.

      Comment by kazvorpal | August 24, 2009 | Reply

  9. Do you have any sources for your “data”? Please cite them so we can judge the veracity for ourselves.

    Comment by Robert Crawford | August 23, 2009 | Reply

    • …again, I’m concerned about the state of government education, today.

      You know how hyperlinks work, right?

      There are quite a few links to references, in the article.

      Not that you’d really need them…each segment is widely covered by the mainstream media. Do a quick google for pro-healthcare-socialization writers complaining about people choosing not to pay medicare, or young people who think they’re bullet-proof and choose not to get insurance, or how poor parents choose not to enroll their children in SCHIP, or how illegal immigrants are among the uninsured, et cetera.

      Comment by kazvorpal | August 23, 2009 | Reply

  10. Here in Germany everybody on a job has to join the official health care system and has to pay about 15 % of his or her income up to a maximum income of Euro 44.100. The employer must 50 % of the amount. If you earn more than 44.100 your health system fee doesn’t rise.
    People who earn more than Euro 48.600 are allowed to join a private health insurance. The employer also has to pay 50 % of the private insurance. If you are privately insuranced you have some advantages, i.e. will you get a much earlier date with the doc than people of the official health system who sometimes have to wait weeks until they see the doc. The costs of the system are immense and rise year by year and nobody knows how to stop the rising. There have been a lot of reforms but they all failed to rein the cost rising. Workless people are still in the official system if not privately insured. If you workless you have to pay nothing for it. If retired you have to pay nearly nothing for the health system if you are not privately insured. If privately insured you have to pay 100 % (minus a little support by the government), because there is no employer who will pay 50 %.
    Anyhow, the Germans are quite comfortable with the system although they spend billions of euro for it.

    Comment by jenli | August 19, 2009 | Reply

    • It shows a scary sort of peasant attitude, that they can accept “only people who earn more than 48K are allowed to get private insurance”.

      To be FORCED to pay fifteen percent of your income for an insurance monopoly, unless you’re rich, is pretty evil.

      Oh, and the “employer pays half” is a scam. In fact, you, the worker, pay 100%. The employer doesn’t decide what to pay you, then dip into the magic Extra Benefits bucket for the additional money to cover your insurance. He offers you proportionately less in pay, to cover ALL of the “benefits” the government forces you to demand of him.

      Comment by kazvorpal | August 19, 2009 | Reply

  11. This is an idiotic post. I don’t know where you got these numbers. I can list at least 50 people I personally know who are uninsured and don’t fall into ANY of your categories. And they know a lot of other people just like them! I’m sure you’ll delete this comment, so I’m not going to waste my breath saying any more.

    Comment by Christie | August 17, 2009 | Reply

    • No, your post is a perfect model of the cult-like blindness of the people who buy into this fearmongering. You want to match your anecdotal experience against a set of categories and numbers that nobody seriously denies…and you say you don’t know where I got my numbers, which implies that you didn’t even really read the post, much less follow the links that tell you where I did.

      Comment by kazvorpal | August 17, 2009 | Reply

  12. […] Who Are the 47 Million Uninsured? Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)Quote of the day – 01/28/08On Health Care ReformEconomics 101Researchers in Health Debate Not Always Disinterested « They’re Worse than Nothing […]

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  13. That is an entirely brilliant post, and I am going to send the link to it to as many people as possible. Great job, good research, well done. ♥
    I’m 20 and uninsured myself, by the by.

    Comment by Mary | August 15, 2009 | Reply

    • Well then, I shall be expecting a corresponding increase in my readership!

      (trying to look stern)

      More seriously, remember to click the Digg icon at the top right of the story, if you really want to recommend it to others!

      Comment by kazvorpal | August 15, 2009 | Reply

  14. I am uninsured and do not fit any of your categories. I am 63 years old and so not eligible for Medicare. Cobra benefits have run out. Yes, I could go HIPPA, but premiums are more than 1/2 my rent. The two together come to more than my monthly income. So, my income cannot pay both health insurance premiums and rent. I have too much income for Medicaid but too little to purchase the high premiums that are quoted to me. So, for two years, I will be uninsured. This is a side other than the one you presented and I dare say, I am not the only one out here in this position. Also, compare any HMO today with Universal Health Care and the same rules and regulations apply. Veterans get government sponsored health care and, from what I hear, they are happy with their coverage. Government employees have government sponsore health care and, from what I hear, they are happy with their coverage. Why not the rest of us?

    Comment by Rebecca Donaldson | August 10, 2009 | Reply

    • HIPPA is another one of those ridiculous plans that covers your daily health care costs, right? So you’d pay four thousand dollars per year, and in return HIPPA would pay for your checkups and skinned knees, that add up to a fraction of that amount?

      That’s just silly, in the first place. Have you bothered to look into what it would cost you to get insurance that ONLY covers catastrophic illnesses, and pay for annual checkups out of what you’d save?

      And yes, as I noted, there are a small fraction of the population, less than 3%, who are in your situation. But that does not justify rushing through trillion-dollar legislation its own authors say is intended to nationalize health care completely.

      And no, veterans get CRAPPY health care…but, more importantly, their joke of a health care system is a huge burden on the productive members of society…they don’t pay for it out of their own labor, but have it paid for by taxpayers. Perhaps 20 taxpayers pay part of each 1 veteran’s bills…so how the hell would you do that for 100% of the population? At the same 20:1 ratio, it would take six billion people, almost the full population of the planet, to supply each American with that crappy veteran’s benefit health care.

      The same point goes for government bureaucrats’ health care. Where’s the money going to come from, when it’s now paid for by the productive classes, for a tiny fraction of government leeches?

      Comment by kazvorpal | August 10, 2009 | Reply

      • I requested a quote for coverage for major medical expenses only, as I am capable of paying for my own routine care. I was 63 years old and in very good health last year when I received the quote of $583 a month. Seriously?
        That’s why I don’t have health insurance. I fall into the crack: under $50,000 income but too much for medicaid, too young for medicare, and a homeowner accustomed to paying my own bills.
        Some are talking about establishing an emergency fund to ensure that homeowners don’t end up in bankruptcy if they get sick, which would be much cheaper and easier than the proposed government-run plan (an oxy-moron). Most of us are aware of how horribly our poor veterans are treated, and it’s a disgrace!
        Another idea proposed was to require all health care providers to accept Medicare approved amounts for all services. It was acnowledged that some doctors and hospitals would go out of business, but that it was going to happen anyway. This idea came from a very experienced, knowledgeable person in the health care field.

        Comment by Dorothy | August 24, 2009 | Reply

        • Insurance companies are not, at this time, part of the free market.

          They’re not even really part of an actual marketplace, at all.

          Their “market” is government fiat, forcing employers to hold back part of what they’d pay you anyway, refusing to give it to you except in the form of non-catastrophic insurance you don’t need.

          This does make insurance companies irrational and unresponsive.

          One also must wonder why politicians would refuse to legalize true medical savings accounts, where you can bypass health insurance by saving your own money, pre-taxes, which can roll over into a retirement account if you don’t end up spending it.

          Insurance for “routine care”, as you probably realize, is as insane as if we paid a “food insurance” company to finance our weekly grocery needs.

          Comment by kazvorpal | August 24, 2009 | Reply

  15. Great article Kaz. I’ve seen alot of info along this line, but this is clear and well organized stuff.

    Comment by Robert Bryan | August 7, 2009 | Reply

  16. Great piece. It should also be stressed that since government’s forced coverage and regulation has practically made it illegal to compete with the top insurance companies, they’re also able to do other things, like reject “pre-existing conditions”. Austrian economist Hans-Hermann Hoppe has stressed this, explaining how forced government coverage for a myriad of things, as well as forced privacy (ie. they can’t ask if you’re gay, have used intervenous drugs, etc.) causes risk misgroupings.

    Here’s an article from Hoppe on it: http://mises.org/story/2021

    Comment by Zach Bibeault | August 7, 2009 | Reply

  17. Here’s a good video about this subject. In the end, it ends up being about 8 million people that are truely uninsured:

    While a sizeable number, I don’t think we need to scrap our system to accomodate these people. There are ways we can help them that would be much, much less expensive than the current proposals.

    Another argument I consistently hear from the left is that people are “underinsured”. Well, what the heck does that mean? Basically, it seems what they are saying is that if anyone has to incur any kind of out of pocket expense, then they are underinsured. Insurance should be used as bankruptcy protection, not protection against any and all medical expenses!

    Comment by Lynne Erickson | August 6, 2009 | Reply

    • So a bit over 02%.

      That’s statistical noise. Sadly, in a nation of 300,000,000 people, anomalies add up…but yes, it’s insane to demand that ANY system do better than 97%.

      As for being “underinsured”, remember that our health care “crisis” is being caused, mainly, by overinsurance. People pay two thousand dollars per year in order to get “insurance” that covers their fifty dollars per year of normal, predictable expenses…so the doctors then get away with charging $500 per year for that fifty dollars worth, because the consumer doesn’t pay for it.

      Over 95% of our health care costs are paid for by a middleman, not the consumer. It’s no surprise that some of the bills are twenty times what they should have been.

      Comment by kazvorpal | August 6, 2009 | Reply

  18. Why should we take numbers from a right wing opinion piece? Real sources, please. This is unadulterated trash.

    Comment by cmb | August 6, 2009 | Reply

    • One of the most puzzling of the socialist tendencies is the Blind Faith denial…they say “we don’t care how much logic there is, or what actual facts COULD be behind the argument, because it’s from a source we can dismiss”.

      Is there any way to deny the underlying facts of the above? It’s easy to find references to the millions of young adults who choose not to have insurance. It’s simple to find sources for the millions of higher-income people who choose not to have insurance. There is no question that there are millions of millionaires. The problem with people gaming Medicare/Medicaid and COBRA is well-documented. The ten million illegal aliens, once mentioned, are an OBVIOUS falling-down point for the “uninsured” number. The “less than four months” number is completely official.

      Much of this can be verified even through wikipedia.

      And yet the best you can do is “It’s RIGHT WING! I can’t HEAR YOU!! LA LA LA LA!!!”

      It’s true that you won’t find mention of the facts above, collected together, by the socialists PIMPING a single payer health care system…including the Liberal Media. You have to wonder, though, WHY they so carefully giving a breakdown of that 47 million, mentioning what portion is voluntary, or temporary.

      But even they report the same numbers, separately, when they’re spinning those very numbers to show what a “crisis” health care is in. All of the above numbers ARE mainstream, and if you don’t like the sources, then be responsible enough to do the research yourself, instead of being a sheeple.

      Comment by kazvorpal | August 6, 2009 | Reply

  19. I agree that the figures are entirely boggied to make it look worthwhile.

    However, I do believe there are some people who wouldn’t fit into such categories. Middle-aged adults who aren’t handicapped in any way, but perhaps somewhat untalented, lazy, or not overly intelligent who are earning $20-30K per year, or have just gotten behind on payments and insurance just isn’t a top priority.

    We can’t go out on a limb and say there is nobody because all it takes is finding someone or some group of people and your whole argument fails. The counter argument can point out the bogus nature of the pro Obamacare figures, but don’t go the other way. Keep it real. The result is that we don’t have to even suggest that there’s nobody. Because if there is, then the whole premise is shot.

    For sure show the numbers you have, but point out that if there is anyone else who isn’t insured, it’s miniscule and not worth scrapping the best system in the world for socialized medicine,

    On an interesting side, I just got back in from Canada today. On two occasions, I hit drug stores where people were complaining about not being able to get meds found every day in America, but are unavailable for up to 2 weeks there. One of the most popular commercials on television adv for services to help people sue the government for refusing testing and treatment for severe illnesses.

    Conservatives have the burden of keeping their facts straight and catch the liberal when he boggies the facts,

    Comment by Papadoc | August 6, 2009 | Reply

    • Thanks for the feedback; I’ve clarified the ending of the article, so that anecdotal accounts won’t appear to defeat my point.

      Comment by kazvorpal | August 6, 2009 | Reply

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