37% of the Uninsured Live in Households Making $50k or More, and 40% Are Between 18-34 Years
The Census Bureau released its annual study today on "Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2010," and reported that there were 49.90 million uninsured Americans in 2010, up from 48.98 million in 2000.
The chart above shows the household income levels of those 49.9 million uninsured Americans. There were 9.4 million uninsured Americans living in households making $75,000 per year or more, and this group represents almost 1 out of every 5 uninsured (19% of the total number of uninsured). There were 8.8 million Americans without health insurance in households making between $50,000 and $75,000, representing 17.7% of the uninsured. For those two groups combined, almost 37% of Americans without health insurance (18.2 million people) were living in households with $50,000 or more of household income in 2010 (see Table 8 in the Census report for these data).
Q: With $50,000 or more in household income, wouldn't many or most of those 18 million Americans be without insurance voluntarily? That is, couldn't many of those households afford health insurance? Alternatively, with those income levels (especially the 9.4 million with household income above $75,000), couldn't many of those households choose to forgo health insurance in favor of being "self-insured," at least for routine health procedures? Given the widespread availability of more than a thousand convenient and affordable retail health clinics around the country at Wal-Marts, Targets, Meijers, CVSs and Walgreens, these households could easily be on the "pay-as-you-go" model of self-insurance for health care, at least for routine medical services.
It's also the case that about 4 out of 10 uninsured Americans (39.8%) in 2010 were between the ages of 18 and 34 years, and the young people in that age group may also voluntarily choose not to be insured, and be "self-insured," because they are young and healthy and elect not to spend money on health insurance.
As Thomas Sowell wrote in August 2009 when Obamacare was being rushed through Congress before the August recess:
"As for those uninsured Americans who are supposedly the reason for all this sound and fury [Obamacare], there is remarkably little interest in why they are uninsured, despite the incessant repetition of the fact that they are. The endless repetition serves a political purpose but digging into the underlying facts might undermine that purpose. Many find it sufficient to say that the uninsured cannot "afford" medical insurance. But what you can afford depends not only on how much money you have but also on what your priorities are.
Throwing numbers around about how many people are uninsured may create the impression that the uninsured cannot get medical treatment, when it fact they can get medical treatment at any hospital emergency room."
MP: We've now got Obamacare coming soon, and everybody will be forced to buy a federally approved insurance policy whether they want one or not, even those who can currently afford insurance but choose not to, and the young 18-34 year-olds who also currently elect not to buy insurance. We might have another very expensive government solution to what might have been very much of a non-problem.