The American Health Choices Plan gives Americans the choice to preserve their existing coverage, while offering new choices to those with insurance, to the 47 million people in the United States without insurance, and the tens of millions more at risk of losing coverage.From BarackObama.com:
47 million Americans - including nearly 9 million children - lack health insurance.From JohnEdwards.com:
The American health care system is broken. It allows 47 million Americans to go uninsured and tens of millions more to remain at risk of losing coverage. It is needlessly expensive, burdening families and businesses without consistently delivering the high-quality care they need. [Census Bureau, 2006]From RichardsonforPresident.com:
The lack of health insurance by 47 million Americans is a tragedy, Richardson said. He said a third of the cost of health care goes to administration of the HMOs and insurance companies.So what about the Republicans? A cursory review of their websites seem not to mention this number.
Do these democratic candidates care about the numbers they quote?
Do they lack the staff to cross-check these data?
Or are they more interested in fear-based politics?
Remarkably, this morning's New York Times published a critical analysis of this number from a conservative economist, N. Gregory Mankiw. Mr. Mankiw is a professor of economics from Harvard and was an advisor to President Bush and is advising Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, in the campaign for the Republican presidential nomination. Here was the breakdown, as he saw it, of the 47-million number:
Total: 47 millionIf 10 million of the disingenuous "47 million uninsured" are in fact illegal immigrants, are we to understand that all of these candidates are actually calling for nationalized health care coverage for illegal immigrants? Perhaps, in our beneficence, we should pay for healthcare for anyone worldwide who comes to our country. If this is what is being suggested in using these numbers, perhaps it needs to be on the table.
- 10 million illegal immigrants
- The number includes millions of Medicaid-eligible people who have not yet applied for Medicaid
- 18 million of the 47 million have household incomes over $50,000, which puts them in the top half of the income distribution nationally, suggesting they could buy insurance, but for unknown reasons, do not have insurance. He claims a quarter of the uninsured have been offered employer-based insurance, but have declined.
Do the candidates that use this number suggest that those who have elected not to have insurance for personal reasons must now purchase insurance? Given the expense of insurance today, should this personal decision now be subject to government mandates?
What has been done so far on providing health care coverage for illegal immigrants? Here's a list of legislation both passed and vetoed for illegal immigrants. Is this a controversial issue? Perhaps it is not. But if the "universal healthcare" imperative will include illegal immigrants, its cost to our system should be estimated as well.
The last time Congress and the public didn't pay attention to the accuracy of data succumbing to fear-based manipulation, we ended up in a war.