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uninsured in America need to be understood

On the Myth of the Uninsured,  Excerpts from:  PRI Article:

Just a quick look inside the Census Bureau data shows that 9.7 million of the uninsured are not citizens of the United States.  Liberals can argue that we still have a moral duty to cover non-citizens, but this doesn't change the fact that as a matter of accuracy, the Census data only tells us that 36 million Americans are uninsured.

What does the Census Bureau ask to determine the uninsured?

Respondents are asked in February through April about their health coverage status in the previous calendar year.  Some may answer the question as intended, but others may cite their current insurance status, and others may say they were without insurance even if they only spent a portion of the year without coverage. 

How many people actually spend the whole year without health insurance? It's difficult to say, and recent data is hard to come by. But in 2003, the Congressional Budget Office took a stab at answering the question, and looked at two studies from 1998 that conducted interviews multiple times over the course of the survey period. One study pegged the number of people who were uninsured for the entire year at 31 million, while another put it even lower, at 21 million

In 2003, a BlueCross BlueShield Association study estimated that about 14 million of the uninsured were eligible for Medicaid and SCHIP. These people would be signed up for government insurance if they ever made it to the emergency room.

When all of these factors are put together, the 2003 BlueCross BlueShield study determined that 8.2 million Americans are actually without coverage for the long haul, because they are too poor to purchase health care but earn too much to qualify for government assistance.

This exercise isn't about downplaying the problems facing the American health care system, but a necessary part of devising the proper remedies.

Under current state laws, mandates force insurers to provide certain benefits, meaning that young and healthy Americans must choose between paying exorbitant premiums to cover treatments that they don't need or going without health insurance.  Many of these so-called "young invincibles" who are included in the ranks of the uninsured could be wooed into the market were they allowed to purchase catastrophic insurance with lower monthly premiums.