Health Care Lie: '47 Million Uninsured Americans'
Michael Moore was wrong about health insurance.
So were President Bush, Sens. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.), presidential candidates former Sen. John Edwards and Gov. Mike Huckabee and The Washington Post, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, People magazine and Time magazine, as well as CNN, CBS and ABC.
Each of these people and media outlets incorrectly claimed the number of uninsured to be 40 to 50 million Americans. The actual total is open to debate. But there are millions of people who should be excluded from that tally, including: those who arenât American citizens, people who can afford their own insurance, and people who already qualify for government coverage but havenât signed up.
Government statistics also show 45 percent of those without insurance will have insurance again within four months after job transitions.
Accounting for all those factors, one prominent study places the total for the long-term uninsured as low as 8.2 million â a very different reality than the media and national health care advocates claim.
Breaking It Down: Whoâs Uninsured?
The number of the uninsured who arenât citizens is nearly 10 million on its own, invalidating all the claims of 40+ million âAmericansâ without health insurance.
âItâs really indefensible that we now have more than 45 million uninsured Americans, 9 million of whom are children, and the vast majority of whom are from working families,â said Sen. Hillary Clinton in a May 31 speech.
It was typical spin and easy to find. ABC medical expert Dr. Tim Johnson cited the incorrect data as he praised a "bold" and "politically brilliant" universal coverage plan on the April 26 âGood Morning
âItâs bold because it does propose to cover all Americans, including the 47 million now who are uninsured, within five years,â said Johnson.
In his propagandumentary âSiCKOâ that favored the socialist health care systems of
âSiCKO: There are nearly 50 million Americans without health insurance,â quoted
However, the Census Bureau report âIncome, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the
A closer look at that report reveals the Census data include 9.487 million people who are ânot a citizen.â Subtracting the 10 million non-Americans, the number of uninsured Americans falls to roughly 37 million.
âThatâs the only preexisting condition that should exist. I am an American. Thatâs it,â said
That isnât the only problem with the numbers currently being used.
Mooreâs Trouble with the Facts
Recently, CNNâs Dr. Sanjay Gupta accused Michael Moore of âfudgingâ some numbers in his recent film âSiCKO.â This sparked a temper tantrum by Moore who threatened to become the networkâs âworst nightmareâ if they didnât apologize and recant.
CNN did âcorrect and apologizeâ for one transcription error, but stood by Guptaâs statement âCNNâs numbers and Mooreâs numbers arenât far off, but we believe ours are a fairer comparison.â
In his film and television appearances,
On his Web site,
But Cheryl Hill Lee, a co-author of the Census Bureau study
The Census âunderreportedâ the number of people covered by health insurance â meaning that more people have insurance than the report suggests. The Census also underreported the number of people covered by Medicare and Medicaid.
They Canât Afford Insurance âŚ
Many of the same people pushing the incorrect numbers of uninsured Americans also claim that these people cannot âaffordâ insurance.
âAnd when youâve got 47 million people in this country with no health insurance, they donât go to the doctor because they canât afford it,â Moore said on CNNâs âLarry King Liveâ July 10.
Katie Couric echoed those sentiment on the CBS âEvening Newsâ May 23.
âThe number of Americans with no health insurance is continuing to grow as more and more employers say they canât afford to offer group insurance âŚ People who try to buy insurance on their own often find the price beyond their reach,â said Couric as she introduced a two-part âinvestigation of the health insurance industry.â
But according to the same Census report, there are 8.3 million uninsured people who make between $50,000 and $74,999 per year and 8.74 million who make more than $75,000 a year. Thatâs roughly 17 million people who ought to be able to âaffordâ health insurance because they make substantially more than the median household income of $46,326.
On the July 13 âLarry King Live,â Gupta did make that point, providing more context than
Subtracting non-citizens and those who can afford their own insurance but choose not to purchase it, about 20 million people are left â less than 7 percent of the population.
âMany Americans are uninsured by choice,â wrote Dr. David Gratzer in his book âThe Cure: How Capitalism Can Save American Health Care.â Gratzer cited a study of the ânonpoor uninsuredâ from the California Healthcare Foundation.
âWhy the lack of insurance [among people who own homes and computers]? One clue is that 60 percent reported being in excellent health or very good health,â explained Gratzer.
A Lie that Promotes Big Government
Moore, Clinton and Obama have used the lie about 40-some million uninsured Americans to promote universal health insurance plans.
Journalistsâ failure to question that high figure has furthered the cause of nationalized care.
âProponents of universal health care often use the 46-million figure -- without context or qualification. It creates the false impression that a huge percentage of the population has fallen through the cracks,â Gratzer told BMI. âAgain, thatâs not to suggest that there is no problem, but it's very different than the universal-care crowd describes.â
Turner also pointed out that â45 percent of the uninsured are going to have insurance within four months [according to the Congressional Budget Office],â because many are transitioning between jobs and most people get health insurance through their employers.
So what is the true extent of the uninsured âcrisis?â 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 13.9 million and 8.2 million. That is a much smaller figure than the media report.
Kaiserâs 8.2 million figure for the chronically uninsured only includes those uninsured for two years or more. It is also worth noting, that, 45 percent of uninsured people will be uninsured for less than four months according to the Congressional Budget Office.
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