New article out today in Health Affairs showing that the number of truly uninsured is a lot less than 47 million. According to the article, about 25% of the 47 million are eligible for Medicaid, while another 19% can afford health insurance but choose not to purchase it. That means 56% of 47 million–about 23.6 million–are actually uninsured.
However, as the authors note, even that may be too high:
The way in which the [Current Population Survey] asks people to report their insurance coverage would seem to lead to an estimate of the number of uninsured people for the entire previous year. But comparisons to the other surveys suggest that the number of people without coverage is much closer to the point-in-time estimates and well above full-year estimates. In its most recent release, the Census Bureau stated that its estimates were more closely in line with point-in-time estimates of the uninsured. We accept this assessment.
Permit me to translate: The Current Population Survey is not very good at distinguishing between those who are uninsured temporarily (point-in-time) because, say, they are between jobs, and those who are chronically uninsured (full-year).
Nevertheless, 23 million is a lot less than 47 million. That’s probably why it won’t get much media coverage.
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