Friday, September 11, 2009

Hidden Uninsured: How Many Think They Have Health Insurance But Don't?

The public discussion of the Health Insurance legislation has been based on a figure of 47 million people without health insurance. I bet there are a lot of people who think they have health insurance, but will be caught without it:
  • People whose insurance does not cover the services they need or will soon need;
  • People whose claims for reimbursement of health service costs will be disallowed for causes such as "pre-existing conditions"';
  • People who will change jobs, losing their employer plans and find themselves unable to get new insurance due to "pre-existing conditions".
It would be hard to estimate this hidden uninsured population, and harder still to convince its members that they are at risk, but were that possible there would be a major increase in support for the legislation.

While I am at it, I am annoyed by the opposition to a modest public plan being included in the legislation. Many of us trust the government to protect us from military aggresion, from terrorists, and from dangerous products. We trust the government to build our roads, our water supplies and sewerage, and to regulate commerce. We trust the government to protect public health from communicable disease. We trust the government to educate our children. Why should we not be allowed to choose a public plan for health insurance? Are the oponents afraid the public alternative would be more attractive than their prized private insurers?

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