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« A Difference Without A Distinction | WILLisms.com | Wednesday Caption Contest: Part 62 »

Breaking Down the 40M+ are Uninsured Myths

Who are the 40M+ Uninsured that Progressives keep talking about? It makes sense to know who makes up this number and a little googling yields some interesting results. This Demographic Report is from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) which collects nationally representative data on health care use, expenditures, sources of payment, and insurance coverage for the U.S. civilian noninstitutionalized population. Let's look at some figures from 2001 (most recent available):

  • In the first half of 2001, 16.7 percent of the U.S. civilian noninstitutionalized population were uninsured.
  • Among the U.S. civilian noninstitutionalized population under 65, more than a third of Hispanics (37.7 percent) and 20.2 percent of black non-Hispanics were uninsured during the first half of 2001, compared with 14.9 percent of white non-Hispanics.
  • Among people under 65, Hispanics accounted for one-fourth (26.3 percent) of the uninsured civilian noninstitutionalized population even though they represented only 13.1 percent of the overall population this age.
  • Young adults ages 19-24 were the age group at the greatest risk of being uninsured, with one-third (33.9 percent) of this group lacking health insurance.
  • Persons who never married accounted for nearly a quarter (23.2 percent) of the non-elderly population but over a third (35.3 percent) of the uninsured population (data not shown).

So let's tear this down a little bit. Of the 48M uninsured, approximately 12M of them are Hispanics. This corresponds neatly to the fact that there are approximately 12-20M illegal immigrants in this country. While I do not have exact figures, Illegals and the children of Illegals that they themselves may in fact be citizens make up a substantial portion of the uninsured.


Next, almost a full third of the uninsured are persons that are unmarried and never married. These are single people that make conscious choices to not have health insurance. Most forego the insurance to make more money. And why shouldn't they? They have no dependants and are unmarried. Do they not have the right to choose to not have health insurance?


The Hispanic population in this country, both legally and illegally, is approximately 13% of the total population or 40M people. Of these, almost 40% are uninsured which is more than double the rate of blacks and 2.5 times the rate of whites to be uninsured. This can only be attributed to illegal immigration. Imagine if the 12M illegals were not here and not included in these numbers and caused Hispanic uninsured to be roughly the same as Whites and Blacks. The total of uninsured would be cut by approximately 20%. If we take away the unmarried twentysomethings, you can scratch another 35% off that total. So 55% of the total uninsured that we hear so much about are either illegals or 20somethings.

Why not talk about why people are uninsured as part of the problem definition phase before throwing out the "solutions"? How much is our society willing to pay in higher taxes and slowed growth to insure illegal aliens and 20somethings that do not want to carry health insurance? If we need to know why terrorists hate us before we figure out how to deal with them, why not know why people don't have health insurance before we figure out how to deal with that? Is big government and nationalized healthcare for a single 20 year old or for an illegal immigrant worth having a French socialist tax structure?

What exactly do we "owe" to the 20somethings and illegals that are over half of the problem?

Posted by Justin B. · 18 July 2006 03:16 PM


As is your usual, excellent research. It'll be interesting to see whether the "progressive" reply will 1) consist of actual analysis of the figures to show that perhaps you have misinterpreted them, or 2) at-hominum attacks, 3) use of numbers obtained from Jesse Jackson, or 4) various combinations of 2,3, and 4. I'll not bet on a #1 type response.

In all seriousness, this is very interesting. Too bad that you're doing the work that should be done by the NYT, Boston Globe, Washington Post, et al.

Posted by: Da Coyote at July 18, 2006 04:06 PM

Sorry, had to do a minor revision to the final numbers. Over 35% of the uninsured are 20somethings. Had to correct that. 50+% of the uninsured in this country are either unmarried 20somethings or illegal immigrants.

I have more statistics about the number of uninsured children that will be forthcoming in a future post.

Posted by: Justin B at July 18, 2006 04:15 PM

And yeah, my bets are on 2,3, and 4. My favorite is when they call you heartless for not letting the struggles of the poor without health insurance override your ability to research and look for reason in the numbers. Why let facts and statistics cloud your judgement when you can operate on emotion. You heartless bastard for not letting the violins and the tears make you want to raise taxes and nationalize healthcare right away to protect these poor kids.

How many 20somethings that are uninsured lack the basics of modern life like an iPod or cellphone? Maybe we need to raise taxes to cover the 100M poor American kids that don't have adequate access to an iPod too.

Posted by: Justin B at July 18, 2006 04:18 PM

It's a screwed up country where you can choose to die but you can't choose to live without insurance.

Posted by: JohnJ at July 18, 2006 05:24 PM

I have a feeling that those 18-24 y/o are not really losing sleep tonight worried about getting sick. Maybe it is just me. And what a nice precedent to set for those 18-24y/o people. Don't want to get insurance? We'll give it to you, and by the way, the republicans want to take it away from you. DNC code for:Republicans want to make you pay your own bills so make sure to vote democratic.

Posted by: christian at July 18, 2006 07:00 PM

Spot on Christian. These kids think that the world owes them everything. A 25 year old should be able to afford the same house his parents own now after a lifetime of work. He should be able to make good money, have a car with some bling, and have everything given to him. No sacrifice. Graduate from college and a good job should be waiting, regardless of his/her degree in Psychology.

And that is what the Dems will give you. A good job with a pension and free healthcare for life when you retire. Full social security benefits guaranteed.

Posted by: Justin B at July 18, 2006 09:32 PM