Health Care Costs
Michael Canon has an interesting op-ed suggesting that that the 47 million uninsured is actually not all that accurate.
Cannon argues that the number is overstated for the following reasons,
- 20% of the uninsured are eligible for government health programs.
- 75% of the uninsured can afford insurance (the implication that they just decide not to buy it).
I have to say that even though Cannon and I share political views here I’m not inclined to merely take his word for it. Still even if he is “half right” it implies that about 40% of the uninsured either are not really uninsured or that they choose to be uninsured.
I do agree with Cannon that even if the number of uninsured is overstated and that the actually number is something like 20 to 35 million uninsured, there is still a problem with the uninsured.
I assume he is talking about the 2003 paper by Bundorf and Pauly to support his 75% assertion. Only the abstract is free to view and that doesn’t help. Did you read the paper? Does it support his assertion? If he was as careful about accuracy with this as he was in the rest of his essay the answer is no.
The only thing I could easily find to support his eligible for government care contention is a 2005 working paper. That paper says that CPS underreported people that were at some point in the year covered by Medicaid. Not exactly the same thing.
None of the stories pushing these same numbers provide citations.
All that aside there is no real argument that the actual number of uninsured is substantially lower than 47 million reported. What many looking at this number may not realize it that 47 mil is the number of people uninsured for a full 12 months. Add the number of people who did without insurance for 3 or more months of the year and the number would certainly increase (couldn’t easily find the numbers). The problem is in all likelihood considerably greater than the 47 mill figure rather than less.
How do you come to this number?
Cannon partially comes to his number by saying,
Even if the 20% figure was correct (it doesn’t appear to be) this is an inane contention. Eligible for does not equal actually enrolled in. Those eligible need to be enrolled to address this part of the problem however large it happens to be.
Now if we take Cannon at face value those people are still uninsured and that is still a problem, though a different type of problem. If his numbers were correct then the Clinton plan would almost immediately solve 95% of the problem. After all 20% of the uninsured are “in effect” already insured by the government so there should be no opposition to having them actually insured by the government. If 75% of the uninsured really can afford it, mandates with associated tax rebates or subsidies should take care of this. Yet somehow I think that Cannon would oppose her plan.
Frankly, I don’t buy that one, either. Every example the democrats of, with in this SCHIP nonsense, including the Frosts, have proven to be covered under the current plan. Under no conditions, have the proponents of expanding SCHIP given us a good reason, and a practical example, of why this gross example of government largess requires expansion.
All of which leaves aside the somewhat more fundamental question of the morality of stealing from me and mine to pay for such largess.
You’re beating a dead horse, Steve. You won’t convince anybody who’s not already convinced.
Those who deep down believe that health care is a right and should be paid for out of tax revenues don’t care. From that point of view coverage is good regardless. Who cares if somebody has chosen not to purchase health insurance? Make them do it anyway and make other people pay for it, too.
To me a more telling point is that the uninsured are clustered in particular states. There are any number of factors that could explain this: immigration patterns, more diverse population, less tolerance for paying other people’s expenses, greater tolerance for risk. But it’s a fact and it’s unclear to me why the citizens of New Jersey (for example) should be taxed to pay for the health insurance of the people of Texas (for example) if the people of Texas don’t want to pay for it themselves.
Health care is a private good and will remain so for the foreseeable future here.
Cannon makes a weak argument that the problem of the uninsured is overstated by 2000% so is essentially not a problem at all. How is pointing to this nonsense beating a dead horse? (I am assuming here that by this you mean that Steve is making a cogent argument about universal health care that will not be listened to by supporters of universal health care.)
What does Cannon’s essay illustrate other than his willingness to distort figures to support his political position?
I do think health care is a right and that for those who cannot afford it tax revenues are an acceptable way to pay. What is it you feel we don’t care about that you and Steve do?
count me in on the 75%. back in the early 80’s i was paying $228 a month for full family coverage. i decided i could not afford it any longer and dropped to a bare bones policy for $40 bucks a month. looking back now, i still had my beer, my wife had the mall, and we went out to dinner every friday night. not to mention a new car. very selfish and fortunate we had no medical problems.
What is it you feel we don’t care about that you and Steve do?
How is pointing to this nonsense beating a dead horse?
Well, from the perspective of the OTB contributor, this is all obvious. Government stinks and if we only gave anarcho capitalism a chance we’d all find out how lame liberals all are.
Of course, even their own party is abandoning them for the political reality that health care is, in fact, a real big problem to a whole heck of a lot of people and that SCHIP is polling at 80%.
Hopefully they’ll get back to being disillusioned with the complete mess that is the republican party and go back to arguing alongside of Ron Paul about the gold standard.
It’s been quite interesting to watch the complete split of the anarcho capitalists who’s primary concern is simply money and how to keep other people’s hands off their hard earned cash and the social and civil libertarians who are more concerned with human rights and liberties.
Cato used to be a champion of civil liberties but seems to have been completely taken over by the anarcho capitalists and this transparently flawed op ed of Canon’s is just another nail in the coffin of that corpse.
Speaking of the uninsured, or the “under”insured, how’s your wife, Steve? Is her jaw still hurting from that car accident? Oh wait, I mean from the TMJ, oh wait, I mean from the, the…who knows. Pretend pain?
I think that affirmative rights create a conflicts that negative rights do not. For that reason I’m skeptical of the concept of affirmative rights.
So, in the United States for example, social security is not a right. It’s a benefit and I think that’s appropriate.
If the American people are willing to tax themselves to pay for the benefit of universal health care, I’m all for it although I think that enthusiasm will wane as costs spiral out of control.
Dave, I think you’ll find that it’s the right and people like yourself are the only ones who believe that liberals think X (where X varies) is an intrinsic “right”. I think you’ll find that most people – liberals included – think that humans invent “rights” out of thin air via laws and conventions of culture. So, once we make Social Security a law it becomes a right. By definition. We create rights. They didn’t precede humanity in some Platonic existence.
You can make the semantic distinction of “benefits” vs. “rights”, but in the end it’s just that – a semantic distinction with dubious benefits to this argument.
And, in fact, you really didn’t seem to answer his question at all. He asked you what it is that we don’t care about that you and Steve do.
So, is it the semantic distinction between “right” and “benefit” that is lost on us? Is it the notion of affirmative vs. negative rights that we’re clueless about in these arguments?
BTW, wrt I think that affirmative rights create a conflicts that negative rights do not.
I’m wondering what you think about, for example, the right to bear arms (an affirmative right), or for that matter the entire bill o’ rights in the constitution which is nothing but a whole raft of affirmative rights. As these are widely considered to be the crown jewels of our democratic system, I’m wondering you would do things differently such that the supposed conflicts that these create would be solved by reframing as negative rights.
Hal, I misspoke. Rather than affirmative rights, I meant positive rights, commonly referred to as entitlements. I think there’s a valuable distinction to made between such and benefits.
Perhaps you should hew more closely to what I actually write in critiquing what I write. In my comment I make no attempt to label or stereotype (which you take me to task for).
Okay, affirmative, positive, whatever. Again, you didn’t answer the original question. So, what is it that we’re missing?
WRT taking you task, I’m talking to what your operating premises appear to be. You speak in the common lingo of those who believe that rights are intrinsic rather than being created by law.
So, all that aside, if SS, health care, whatever are rights by law (and can be taken away as such by revoking or making another law), where – in the words of Reagan – is the beef?
If, as you state, positive rights create conflict and are bad, then my question still stands – i.e. what do you feel about the bill o’ rights in the constitution, which is a passel of positive rights, creates conflict and why is the conflict it creates “bad”?
Conflict in and of itself isn’t bad. If it’s conflict with, for example, the bad elements in our society who want to take away our rights or don’t want to respect them, we normally view this as the “good” fight and something to be proud of and an honor to take up.
Conflict avoidance, as a primary strategy, seems like a loser to me. Rarely does any action not produce someone who doesn’t like it. That’s why we have the concept of “consensus” rather than “complete agreement”.
The original question here – still unanswered – is What is it you feel we don’t care about that you and Steve do?
You answered this with “positive rights create conflict that negative rights don’t”, which doesn’t seem to my reading as an answer to the question. It’s a statement that may or may not be true, but the point is, are we (collectively speaking), simply not getting this fact that “positive rights create conflict that negative rights don’t”, or what? I’m unclear as to how your response is an answer to the 9:15 am comment by Grewgills.
What difference does this distinction make?
Polls seem to indicate they are. We’ll see how that holds up.
and why is it costs would spiral more out of control than they currently are?
Keep in mind when answering this that the US currently pays more than any other country and US costs are currently growing faster than almost all universal care countries.
BTW I’m still waiting for the answer to my earlier questions.