Of the 45.7 million people in the U.S. (15% of the population, which was 301.6 million at the time) who were uninsured during 2007,
- 9.7 million were not citizens of the United States
- 16.2 million had an income of more than $50,000 and could, therefore, afford their own insurance
- 12.7 million were eligible for other government programs like Medicare and Medicaid but didn’t enroll in them
Allowing for overlap in those categories, there are 8.2 million citizens, less than 3% of the population, who are chronically uninsured (The Top Ten Myths of American Health Care: A Citizen’s Guide) because they cannot afford health insurance and are not eligible for existing programs.
In a press release dated today, the House Ways and Means Committee stated that “[a]ccording to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO), reform provisions in the bill will cover 97 percent of Americans.” That leaves 3% who are still not covered. (Since they used the word Americans, it’s reasonable to assume that we’re talking about citizens of the United States.)
Why do we need the government to reform the best health care system in the world, when the same number of people–and possibly more–will not be covered?