From the desk of Charlie Churchill’s Parrot 

“Perhaps the most visible sign of the need for health care reform is the 46 million Americans currently without health insurance. CEA projections suggest that this number will rise to about 72 million in 2040 in the absence of reform.”
           – The White House Council of Economic Advisers (CEA), June 2, 2009

Despite the fact that, at roughly 25,000, there are more polar bears alive today in the Arctic Refuge Coastal Plain then at any point in recorded history, global-warming pimps continue to peddle their tale of doom regarding these creatures as proof positive of the evils of man made climate change. Why? Because it works.    

Similarly, another tale of doom is being spread far and wide to emotionally bludgeon the American people into accepting that a good portion of their liberty and income must be sacrificed as penance for the excesses of their free-market wantonness: the tale of the uninsured.   

“We’ve got to admit that the free market has not worked perfectly when it comes to health care, because you’ve got a lot of people who are really getting hurt: 46 million uninsured,” declared President Barack Obama in Green Bay, Wisconsin this past 11 June.

You’ve simply “got to admit” it.  Otherwise folks might suppose your capitalistic zeal has blinded you to the sufferings of your fellow man, and you wouldn’t want that would you? Golly, no.

The canard of the “46 million uninsured in America” is the well-choreographed stage-craft of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Heavily invested in, and thus deeply disappointed by, the colossal failure of the Clinton administration’s go at establishing a taxpayer-funded, government-run health care system; RWJF realized they’d need to pursue a different strategy in order to sell their poison to the American people. So they borrowed a page from their friends in Hollywood and put a “human” face on the otherwise dismal tedium of health care financing: “The Uninsured.”  Like the climate-change pushers and their cute, fuzzy, drowning polar bears, government run health care advocates now had their mascots by which to yank the heart strings of otherwise common sense Americans and guilt them into forsaking not only their liberties but the best health care system in the world.    

For seven years now RWJF has funded and orchestrated Cover the Uninsured Week campaigns through health institutions across the country. The intent of the campaign has been to rivet into the head of every single American that there are 44-50 million people in the United States who simply cannot afford health insurance and that something must be done NOW.  As their lack of insurance is due to the fact that private insurance and private-sector health care are utterly unaffordable, a tax-payer funded public option and government enforced price controls are the only real path to the panacea of “universal coverage.” Genuinely compassionate Americans, baffled and bored by the complexities of the issue, find the logic hard to argue and increasingly go along with the show.

There is a bit of a sticky wicket in all this, however, in that the entire 46 million uninsured statistic so universally bandied about these days is a damnable lie.  A bit of analysis, if you will.

As the United States’ Congressional Budget Office (CBO) explains,  

“Far from being a static group, the uninsured population is constantly changing. Some people are uninsured for long periods, but more are without coverage for shorter times, such as between jobs.” 

The U.S. Census Bureau, who’s Current Population Survey (CPS) data has traditionally been used for estimating the number of uninsured in America, has acknowledged the CPS’s failure to take into account this fluidity of the uninsured population. Buried in the back (page 59) of the bureau’s 2007 report you will find this: 

“Health insurance coverage is likely to be underreported on the Current Population Survey (CPS). While underreporting affects most, if not all, surveys, underreporting of health insurance coverage on the Annual Social and Economic Supplement appears to be a larger problem than in other national surveys that ask about insurance. … Compared with other national surveys, the CPS estimate of the number of people without health insurance more closely approximates the number of people who are uninsured at a specific point in time during the year than the number of people uninsured for the entire year.” 

So why does this matter? Well one would think activists sincerely concerned with addressing a problem, let alone a “crisis”, would want to take great pains to accurately assess it. Or, to quote the CBO once again, “Policies aimed at increasing coverage are most likely to be effective if they consider the distinction between the short term and long term uninsured.”  And yet health care reform crusaders seem not at all concerned with this distinction.  Curious.

Now of course, the United States Census Bureau is not entirely inept (at least not until ACORN takes over.) They do produce surveys which make the distinction between those deemed “chronically” uninsured and those just enduring a bit of nasty weather. In particular, the bureau’s National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) takes measurements of the uninsured over time, i.e. those uninsured at the time of the interview, those uninsured at least part of the year prior to the interview, and those uninsured for more than a year at the time of the interview. Not surprisingly, the 2008 NHIS produced results that paint rather a different picture of the uninsured in America:   

How often have these caveats accompanied the utterance of the “46 million uninsured” factoid when e’er you’ve heard it? We’re guessing never.  For doing so reduces the issue to what it is: a problem, not a “crisis” symptomatic of the dire need for massive reform of the American health care industry and its financing.

There are individuals genuinely experiencing hardship through no fault of their own owing to medical expenses and insufficient insurance. And the current pathetic state of the economy has forced many who have never before sought nor needed government assistance to become wards of the state (kudos Messrs. Cloward and Piven). For both the chronic and the acute aspects of this problem, however, there exists numerous free market proposals on the table; the most tidy and comprehensible proposed by one Congressman Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) known as the Patients’ Choice Act. You’ll likely never hear a wit about any of these unless you do the digging yourself. As they say, the fix is in.

As for those insisting that “only government” can provide relief for the nation’s uninsured, they care no more about people who lack health insurance than the global warming scammers do their polar bears. They are mere pawns, a new category of “victims” the Marxists can use to emotionally blackmail the American people into relinquishing still more of their hard won liberty and prosperity. Why?  Because it works.



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