FactCheck.org (my new favorite resource) estimates that there are about 46 million people who do not have health insurance. That sounds like a lot. But let's break down that 46 million number further.
According to the National Institute for Health Care Management, 26 percent of the uninsured actually qualify for public coverage (specifically, Medicaid), but do not make use of it. That's 12 million people. I would submit to you: Whose responsibility is that? If you remove the people who actually qualify for government-provided health insurance but have chosen not to make use of it, the number of "uninsured" drops to 34 million.
Furthermore, according to the Census Bureau, 20 percent of the uninsured have household incomes of at least $75,000. If you are uninsured yet pull in more than $75,000 per year, your priorities are skewed beyond belief. That swath of the uninsured, by the way, is about 9.5 million people. That means nearly 10 million people make at least $75,000 per year and don't have health insurance. I'd submit to you: Whose responsibility is that?
If you remove the people who (1) qualify for public coverage and (2) make $75,000 or more per year, the number of insured "in need" drops to about 24 million.
According to the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation, 21 percent of the uninsured are immigrants. Now of course, that includes individuals who are here lawfully. However, there are an estimated 10-11 million immigrants in the United States illegally. If anyone would care to set forth an argument for why exactly American tax dollars should be used to fund the treatment of individuals who have entered the country illegally and flouted our immigration laws, I'd love to read it in the comments section.
According to the Census Bureau, roughly 40 percent of the uninsured are between the ages of 18 and 34. As a member of this age bracket myself, I can only speak of the attitude among my peers, and do not intend for this to be extrapolated to all 18-t0-34-year-olds generally. However, the prevailing attitude among the individuals of this age that I have encountered is that health insurance is simply an expense that they don't need. And remember -- the federal government insures the truly indigent through Medicaid.
Finally, the harsh reality for the liberal cause is that, according to Families USA, uninsured Americans consumed an astounding $42 billion in health care services in 2008 -- and that doesn't even include money that came out of public funds or private citizens' pockets. In other words, that's free care that health care providers simply were forced to write off. A study by the Kaiser Family Foundation made similar findings.
By the way, you can check my numbers here.
This post does not purport to describe the entire picture of the American health care system, but it certainly discredits the apocalyptic portrait painted by the White House. In reality, after subtracting illegal immigrants, individuals who qualify for public insurance, people who earn more than $75,000 (which is nearly 4 times the poverty level), and those between the ages of 18 and 34 for whom it is cheaper to pay per diem than it is to buy insurance, we are simply talking about a very small group of Americans that is in need. To be sure, the cost of health insurance has risen dramatically, and affording it sometimes requires families to make sacrifices.
However, if you buy into the president's proposals because you think that the current system is barbaric and inadequate, let me simply quote John Adams, and remind you that facts are stubborn things.