Wednesday, September 13, 2017

It's How You Spin It - Numbers for Uninsured

So the Census Bureau released numbers about insurance rates in Arkansas. The left is claiming that they prove how wonderful Obamacare has been in Arkansas. I look at the same numbers and think how few people have actually been helped considering how much trouble it has been for the rest of us, and how catastrophic it will be when this unsustainable system finally goes away.

The chart shows that when we first implemented Obamacare in Arkansas in 2013 about 14.5% of people interviewed did not have health care insurance at that time. There are lots of reasons for that but the biggest one is probably that a lot of young people are healthy and felt that they had no need for health care insurance. After all, the state has been giving it away since 2013 and signing up everyone they can and still about 8.5% don't have health care insurance. It is very likely that the bulk of those people are just those who are not bothering to get it because they don't feel they need it, even if they are so poor that the can get it paid for by the rest of us or so wealthy that they should be able to afford it and face a penalty from the IRS if they don't.

So all of the controversy and rate increases and losing our doctors for the rest of us has been so that at most six percent of the population gets covered. The number is probably less than that because if you look at the trend line before Obamacare was imposed the uninsured rate was already declining from 2010 through 2013. It looks like it would have gone down to about 13% rather than 14.5% by now if we had just left things alone. So that means that all of this hassle has been for the benefit of around 4.5 percent of the population. That is not counting the insurance companies and hospitals who are gathering in taxpayer money hand over fist.

Also, the rate of uninsured seems to be leveling off. In other words about everyone that wants it has it. We are not going to get the number down to zero uninsured, even giving it away to the poor. Even before Obamacare Arkansans provided health care for poor children, the poorest of the poor adults, the disabled, and the elderly. The only group expected to provide for their own health insurance was able-bodied adults.  Most of us did. This program and all the expense and trouble it caused was about getting 4.5% of the population of able-bodied adults a welfare benefit paid for by the rest of us and the children of the next generation. That doesn't even count that it is fiscally unsustainable and is in a slow collapse anyway- who knows how many will be caught in the fallout when that happens. I suppose if you throw enough taxpayer dollars at a problem you are bound to help a few people, but I question whether we have gotten our money's worth on this one.


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