More Faulty Research from Families USA

The Lewin Group is the source of a report (I don't use the term "study" for propaganda) by Families USA that claims "one-third of all Americans lack insurance." This hysteria was picked up by newspapers all across the country. One person counted stories in 200 papers that reported the information uncritically.

It turns out that Families USA arrived at these numbers by manipulating data from a bunch of different surveys and extrapolating them over a two-year period. So, it would include everyone who has changed jobs in the past two years. They have "lost" their health insurance when they went from one job to another job, even though the new job might also have provided coverage. It also includes all the people who are already eligible for a public program but haven't bothered to sign-up, and all the kids who graduated from college and didn't immediately get coverage, and all the new immigrants, legal or not, who aren't eligible for public programs in any case.

In fact, the problem of the uninsured is not a crisis and is not growing, as illustrated in the graphic. But don't tell that to the 200 newspapers that reported the Families USA numbers.

Insurance Coverage 1994-2007

Comments (3)

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  1. John R. Graham says:

    Because employer-based coverage results in gaps (which HIPAA and COBRA fail to solve”, frictional uninsurance is unnecessarily high. I figure that 2 million or so of the uninsured are newly employed and in a waiting period at their new job (, pp. 12-13).

    It would be fun to ridicule Families USA’s method by estimating how many years to lengthen out the period of observation before you could conclude that 100 percent of the population was uninsured. If the average person changes jobs every five years, and working live lasts 45 years, I suppose a very rough estimate would be 9 years.

  2. Ken says:

    Thanks for th graph. Always good to remind everyone about the facts.

  3. Fabian says:

    Yes, this new law is very flawed. It oolsbuivy rewards the people with money and power. Most importantly, it will drastically injure those who cannot afford even the lower costs. If I had to purchase insurance on my own, I would not be able to, and for years (in the past) had no medical insurance because rent, food for my children, clothes for my children, insulin and all the required equipment needed to treat diabetes in my daughter took all of my funds. This will cause more young people to leave the state, as they can go elsewhere and live a better quality of life. I myself have encouraged all of my children to leave Massachusetts if and when they are desiring to do so . . . so that they can have a better quality of life than this state allows the average person. One of my children has done so, one will be doing so in the near future, and the other . . . well, he’s young and we’ll see what life brings. This supposedly new reform will bring about changes that will shake the economy as well as stirring up social/ethnic problems as well. The Welfare in this state is horrible and rewards many very healthy people by allowing them to sit on their ass and collect from those who work for a living, while those at the top continue to strangle those who work and reward the lazy. I disagree with this reform for many reasons. Those who cannot afford food and rent will NOT be able to purchase medical insurance. And there is a rather huge influx of international immigration here which helps those from other countries while not helping it’s own. Do you see what I mean . . . social problems will only increase, as they have been steadily doing for some time now.