Another 9 million "uninsured" have household incomes of above $75,000. That's 3.4 times the federal poverty standard for a family of four. For a married couple, that's 6.9 times the federal poverty standard. Some of these people – 30 percent -- are just temporarily without health insurance for six months or less. Others voluntarily avoid health insurance, even if they can afford it. And that's a perfectly reasonable position -- many people worry less about paying for the occasional visit to the doctor than about paying the monthly premiums. In essence, the Obama plan would force insurance on these people and force public insurance on the rest of us.
And then there are "12 million uninsured Americans … eligible for Medicaid and the State Children's Health insurance program -- but they haven't signed up," according to Sally Pipes of the Pacific Research Institute and author of The Top Ten Myths of American Health Care. Again, voluntary behavior is voluntary. It's not an excuse for government involvement.
So, to sum up, of those 46 million "uninsured," a solid 31 million are uninsured in ways that require no fix from the federal government. That leaves 15 million uninsured unaccounted for. A nationalized health care plan of the sort Obama proposes therefore shifts health care for literally 95 percent of the population on behalf of 5 percent of the American population -- 5 percent who, like illegal immigrants, receive emergency care under federal law.
The media and Obama have portrayed the American health system as a system in crisis. They point to skyrocketing premiums -- the cost of a family policy is now $1,000 per month for employers. Obama says, "One out of every five dollars we earn will be spent on health care in a decade." Premiums for family coverage have risen 78 percent since 2001. And the government programs Medicare and Medicaid will comprise a huge chunk of the federal budget in ten years, more than any other government expenditure.
Why these exponentially higher costs? Because of increased government involvement in the health care system. State regulations have decreased market flexibility by requiring that insurers cover unhealthy individuals at lower-cost and requiring that insurers cover certain hospitals and doctors. The federal and state governments have required that health care providers care for individuals without reimbursement – which means escalating costs for those who do pay. And both federal and state health care subsidization programs have encouraged health care providers and insurance to raise costs.
The answer is more of a free market, not less of one. The answer is competition between insurers, not government monopoly. The answer is a private system, not a public one.