Among the issues most commonly discussed are individuality, the rights of the individual, the limits of legitimate government, morality, history, economics, government policy, science, business, education, health care, energy, and man-made global warming evaluations. My posts are aimed at thinking, intelligent individuals, whose comments are very welcome.

29 July 2014

ObamaCare's False Boast: It has significantly lowered the number of uninsured

It has become common to see supporters of ObamaCare, artfully and deceitfully called the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, claim that it has decreased the numbers of the uninsured from the 17.4% of Americans in 2010 when it was signed into law to the present 13.4%.

Of course the main factor affecting the percentage with health insurance is affordability.  It happens that in 2012 real dollars, 2010 was the minimum in household income for the upper limit of the lowest, the next lowest, and the middle quintiles of household income due to the Great Socialist Recession.  Even the fourth and next to the highest quintile upper limit was almost as low in that year in its worst year of 2009.  So of course one of the ways households hard-pressed due to the loss of income due to the Great Socialist Recession got by was by dropping their health insurance, especially assuming everyone in the household was in good health.

It makes more sense to compare the percentage of uninsured under ObamaCare now to the number before the Great Socialist Recession had its great depressing effect on household income.  In 2008, only 14.4% of Americans were uninsured for medical care.  That year was the maximum income year for all four lowest quintiles before the Great Socialist Recession depressed earnings, with the exception of the second quintile whose upper limit income maximized in 2007, but at a figure only $100 greater than that of 2008.  So, the great success of ObamaCare is really a 1.0% drop in the percentage of uninsured, not the 3.0% claimed by some of its advocates.

The proponents of ObamaCare want us to assume that all of that 1% is due to poor Americans obtaining insurance coverage either through Medicaid or as a result of federal government subsidy for their medical insurance coverage.  The fact that studies have shown no health advantage in being covered by Medicaid is unacknowledged by ObamaCare supporters.  The fact that more than half of the government subsidies are based on an IRS ruling that clearly violates the ObamaCare law and has been judged such by the DC Federal Court of Appeals is also ignored.

Another factor is ignored as well.  Many American households are wealthy enough to have been self-insured.  Few people understand how many are so wealthy and few people recognize that their decision to be self-insured was often a rational one, especially if members of the household were of generally good health.  Since good health is a useful attribute in achieving high incomes and in accumulating wealth, it is likely that the wealthier Americans are also commonly the healthier Americans.  Yet, the tax penalties of ObamaCare will have forced many such wealthy households to stop being self-insured, which is registered as uninsured.  Many such households had to purchase ObamaCare mandated medical insurance.  The movement of these wealthy households to being insured, is a part of the mere 1% decrease in the number of Americans uninsured.

So, how many American households might reasonably have been uninsured before the onset of ObamaCare?  In 2012, the top 5% of household income earnings exceeded $191,156 a year.  With such an income, one can easily afford the doctor's bills a relatively healthy family might incur.  But there is more.  In 2012, the total net household wealth was $80.66 trillion.  This is an average of about $659,000 per household.  Of course the median household wealth was much lower at about $120,000, actually a 2011 figure.

I do not have the wealth distribution figures for 2012, but those for 2007 are available.  Assuming about the same percentages of wealth in the wealthiest 1% and then the next wealthiest 4%, the average wealth for these groups of households in 2012 is:

Wealthiest 1%, $22,790,000 per household.

Next Wealthiest 4%, $4,495,000 per household.

So, any of these wealthiest 5% of households might well have chosen to be uninsured prior to ObamaCare.  Now, they are most likely better off being insured.  So it is clear that there is great potential for all of the 1% decrease in the uninsured since 2008 being people from the wealthiest and highest income households.

This may not be case, but until there is a complete and validated breakdown of the health care insured by income and wealth, we should not assume that the 1% decrease in the uninsured is the result of poor and maybe middle income people rushing into ObamaCare.  In addition, with the assurance of health insurance under ObamaCare for those with severe health problems, some wealthy and high income people are undoubtedly also saving money by putting unhealthy family members under ObamaCare's lower age-pooled rates.

Given the very small decrease of 1% in the uninsured since 2008 and the claims that large numbers of people have been signed up on Medicaid, it is clear that many of the people who had insurance in 2008 do not have it now.  This suggests strongly that a larger fraction of the middle income groups do not have health insurance now than did in 2008.  This is an expected effect of the large increase in the cost of insurance premiums brought on by ObamaCare for those who qualify for little or no subsidy.  It is also an expected result given the decrease in full-time employment since then due to this never-ending Great Socialist Recession.

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