Today over 200 newspapers are reporting that there are 47 million uninsured Americans. What these articles are not telling us is the data from the most recent Census. According to the Census Bureau:
• 9.5 million people are illegal aliens
• 8.3 million make between $50,000 and $74,999 per year and choose not to purchase insurance
• 8.7 million uninsured people are those who make over $75,000/year. This leaves approximately 20 million uninsured; less than 7% of the population.
In addition, 45% of the uninsured will have insurance within the next four months according to the Congressional Budget Office. Many are transitioning between jobs and purchase health insurance through their employers. So what is the true extent of the “health care crisis”? The Kaiser Family Foundation, a liberal non-profit frequently quoted by the media, puts the number of uninsured Americans who do not qualify for current government programs and make less than $50,000 a year between 8.2 and 13.9 million. That is a much smaller figure than the media suggest and it is also subject to “the 45% rule”, wherein that percentage will transition to new jobs within a four-month time-frame.
Giving lower income people subsidies to purchase private insurance is fine. People should be able to purchase health insurance across state lines, and regulations and mandates should be reduced to make health insurance less costly.
All of the “safety net” hospitals in major urban areas report that their Emergency Rooms are inundated with illegal immigrants seeking health care. These hospitals treat and stabilize patients as required by law (the EMPALA). The patients are supposed to be transferred to a County hospital, but these government hospitals often refuses to accept transfers.
All of this simply results in higher un-reimbursed care. In many states there is a “provider tax” where “rich” private hospitals are paying poor hospitals to stay open. The “rich” hospitals certainly don’t want to be inundated with “self pay” (read “no pay”) patients. Politicians want to gloss over the hidden costs of the system. Resources do have a limit. Extending Cobra coverage and making companies pay 65% of it (when in the past they paid an administrative fee) results in either firing people or not hiring new workers to cover the costs which are not covered. This is true because the Obama Administration made it all retroactive.
It is getting to the point where healthcare benefits are so unpredictable in their costs that employers are just paying a stipend so employees can have their own insurance.
The administrative costs and the paperwork are a significant burden for many businesses. Non preforming people who are let go will now get 65% of their Cobra covered by the business for the next 18 months. Some businesses are reporting that they have to fire performing employees to cover the unexpected new costs. No one reports on the unintended consequences of actions which impact businesses such as raising minimum wage, health care costs and retroactive cobra changes.