Number of Uninsured Americans Aged 18-64 Down 2 Percentage Points

The number of uninsured Americans, aged 18-64 has dropped by two percentage points from the first quarter of 2013 to the first quarter of this year, according the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

As shown in figure 2, that brings the proportion of uninsured down to where it was about ten years ago. In other words, Obamacare has not managed to overcome the results of the recession that began in December 2007. Plus, much of the reduction in uninsured is a result of more people becoming dependent on Medicaid, which is welfare, so should not be viewed as the same type of benefit as individually owned or employer-based health insurance.


That’s not much of a result, is it?

For reasons discussed in a previous entry, I am more partial to the CDC’s National Health Insurance Survey (NHIS) than to other estimates of the uninsured. The primary reason is that the NHIS differentiates between those uninsured today versus those uninsured for the long term:

In the first 3 months of 2014, 41.0 million persons of all ages (13.1%) were uninsured at the time of interview, 55.5 million (17.8%) had been uninsured for at least part of the year prior to interview, and 29.9 million (9.6%) had been uninsured for more than a year at the time of the interview.

There is a lot of churn in health insurance, which is a consequence of the tax code giving our employers monopoly control of our health dollars. If we were freer to buy our own health insurance, there would be far less friction. This is a problem that Obamacare makes worse, by adding another way to buy health insurance, but regulating and limiting it without fixing the problem of employer-based benefits.

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