Number of Uninsured May Be Overstated, Studies Suggest

The oft-cited figures of Americans without health insurance coverage are vastly overstated, according to a new report.

Number of Uninsured May Be Overstated, Studies Suggest (LAT)

The number of Americans without health insurance — one of the most watched and worrisome indicators of economic well-being — may be overstated by as much as 20%, according to research conducted for the government. That could mean 9 million fewer uninsured, reducing the total to 36 million from the 45 million reported for 2003, the latest year for which data are available.

The over-count appears to stem from technical problems with the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey, but its implications could have broad consequences for the healthcare debate and for a federal child health program that uses survey data to allocate hundreds of millions of dollars to the states. Politically, “there would be a lot less interest in dealing with the uninsured if it turned out there weren’t so many,” said Joseph Antos, a health policy analyst with the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank in Washington. “There would be accusations that [the administration] was rigging the numbers to make a serious problem go away.”


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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. McGehee says:

    About time our infinitely credible, unbiased news media figured out what skeptical news consumers have suspected for years.

  2. Scott Dillard says:

    The media never seems to mention that many, many of the people without insurance have chosen not to buy it. This is especially true with young working people who are in good health. Why spend money on something you don’t use. Of course they could get sick, but most young, healthy people don’t. The way the media plays it, America has 40,000,000 starving, poor, single mothers with nine kids, all of whom need 500 medications to stay alive. Sorry, but I think reality is somewhat different.