Was listening to the boys in Greensboro again yesterday. Topic made its way to health insurance and the ongoing debate. The same ol’ arguments on both sides were mentioned with the exception of two.
The first was the idea Brad threw out there that there aren’t folks who actually decide not to buy insurance. I think he literally asked for someone to provide data on that topic. Who would literally make the choice not to buy insurance?
The second was mentioned by Britt. And this is the one of pre-existing conditions, what they are and the stance people have on ’em.
First the first: How Chooses NOT to buy health insurance?
Let’s start by asking how many uninsured people there are to begin with. According the US Census Bureau there were 50,674,000 people uninsured in America in 2009. That’s a lot of people. How many of those folks make less than $25,000 and can’t, even if they wanted to, buy health insurance?
Fully 31% of the uninsured in America couldn’t buy insurance if they wanted to. If you double the income of folks we say can’t afford it even if they wanted to, that is stretch it from $0.00 to %49,999, the total jumps an additional 15,278,000. Or 30% more.
61% of Americans who were uninsured in 2009 made less than $50,000. And we’ll say that’s the number at which you can’t afford insurance if you wanted to buy it.
A huge number, to be sure. Very large.
However, it means that 39% of the uninsured made more than $50k. In fact, 21% made more than $75,000. Granted, 39% is less than 61%, but 39% of 15,483,000 is 19,913,000 people. That’s more than 19 million people were uninsured because they made a CHOICE not to buy insurance.
Britt mentioned the pre-existing condition. And he mentioned it in one of the two contexts that I think get confused as we debate health care.
In mind my, those two contexts are as follows:
- You have a healthy uninsured man. He breaks his arm. He walks into an insurance office and asks for health insurance. The insurance company notices the broken arm, a pre-existing condition, and agrees to insure him, but not for the arm.
- You have a healthy INSURED man. He breaks his arm. He walks into an insurance office and asks to file a claim. After the claim has been filed, the insurance company investigates and finds out that 27 years ago the man had acne that he didn’t disclose. The company denies his claim and drops his coverage.
The two examples above are VERY different. And, if confused, cause a great amount of debate and disagreement. When I say that I do not want to cover pre-existing conditions, I am referring to example #1 above. I do not think that insurance companies should be forced to cover an injury or illness that has ALREADY occurred.
I am VERY MUCH in favor of forcing companies to cover the individual in the second example. I do think that insurance companies are scummy when they did back and find evidence of acne, or a playground broken finger or chicken pox not disclosed and use that as a reason to drop coverage.
Maybe if we agreed to agree on which definition of pre-existing condition we’re talking about we might get closer to agreement?