Sunday, October 22, 2006

Observations on the uninsured in CT

One of the things which frequently comes up in discussions on health care reform is the number of uninsured is to high. In thinking about this it could be said any amount is to high however it is important to understand when a report on the number of uninsured is issued it includes people in various situations:

For example, using 2002 Census Bureau numbers for Connecticut, an analysis by the Foundation for Health Coverage Education indicated 346,000 were considered uninsured but the various situations people were in included:

116,000 were eligible for public programs e.g. could enroll in Husky

111,000 had an income over $50,000 e.g. could buy coverage

49,000 were uninsured for a short time e.g. between jobs.

Thus, the number of those really uninsured in CT was 70,000.

A couple other important factors to be aware of:

CT has, according to a July 2006 report, by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the third highest percentage of people in the US who have medical insurance coverage. Hawaii has the highest portion of it's population covered with 82.6% compared to the 68.8% here in CT.
Hawaii has had legislation for employers to provide universal coverage for a long time.

A March 2006 Rand study found - the uninsured get the same quality of care as those that have medical insurance.

It is also important to keep in mind the private sector did not create the uninsured issue – costs in the system of delivering medical treatment did. Things such as an inefficient treatment system, individual behaviors and lifestyle choices, and the cost of state required coverage did. States therefore have a very big responsibility to work on fixing things, which contribute to the cost problem. Working on mandating everyone be covered will only result in more cost.

BTW – There is no track record of success in mandating certain coverage. e.g. in states where individuals are mandated to have auto coverage about 15% of drivers are not insured.

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