There is no doubt that people going without health insurance is a real problem here in Colorado and across our nation. A new study sheds some light on some of our country’s 45.7 million people without health insurance who make up 15.3% of our overall population.
10 million of the uninsured are not US citizens and frequently access health care through emergency rooms knowing that if they can not pay, their care will be free.
Many of the 14 million uninsured lower income Americans are eligible for either Medicaid or SCHIP (a health program for children), but are not aware of the programs and thus have not enrolled. We need government outreach programs and better education to make people eligible for these programs aware of them.
According to US Census Bureau data from 2006, the remaining uninsured American earns an above average income and choose not to purchase health insurance. Americans aged 19-29 make up a large portion of this fast growing segment of the uninsured.
By extrapolating data, they estimate that roughly 18 million Americans without health insurance earn in excess of $50,000 per year. Of those, nearly 10 million make over $75,000 per year.
Clearly, there needs to be a mandate for health care so we can provide universal health care while enlarging the pool of the insured to reduce overall costs and utilization.
What do you think? Do you think these statistics sound about right or do you feel they are misleading? Please feel free to share your opinion!