National Center for Policy Analysis Report Disputes Health Insurance Crisis Claims

Article excerpt

A new report from the National Center for Policy Analysis says that recently released census data showing an increase in the number of Americans without health insurance can be explained largely by two key factors: immigration and population growth.

Figures released by the U.S. Census Bureau in late August indicate that the number of uninsured people in this country is at an all-time high of 46.6 million. The percentage of Americans without health insurance increased from 15.6 percent in 2004 to 15.9 percent in 2005, the data show.

Census officials said the number of children without health insurance rose from 10.8 percent to 11.2 percent.

In Oklahoma, about 700,000 of the state's 3.5 million residents lack health coverage.

Devon Herrick, a senior fellow with the National Center for Policy Analysis, said the Congressional Budget Office estimated that in 2002, 12 million to 31 million people were uninsured for a year or more.

He said this tracks with a recent report by the National Center for Health Statistics, which found that only 29 million had been uninsured for more than a year when they were interviewed.

From 1996 to 2005, Herrick wrote, the number of Americans with health coverage increased by 22 million, while the number of uninsured rose by 5 million to 46.6 million, largely due to population growth.

In addition to the 84 percent of Americans who have private insurance, Medicaid, Medicare or other coverage, Herrick said another 10 million to 14 million adults and children are qualified for government programs but have not enrolled. …