American health cover (letter)by Bill MuehlenbergNews Weekly
, November 28, 2009
I was somewhat perplexed by Jeffry Babb's article, "Message to America: learn to like taxes" (News Weekly, October 17).
His call for Americans to embrace higher taxes was problematic enough. But let me just focus on one statement, that "60 million Americans lack adequate health cover". This is quite misleading.
While accurate numbers on these matters are quite hard to come by, the common figure is 46 million Americans who do not have health insurance. But that figure needs to be carefully teased out. Many of these are simply people in between jobs, and when they do get another job, their employer will offer health insurance.
But we do know that at least 18 million of these Americans earn more than US$50,000 a year. Also, some 10 million of the 46 million are not even American citizens. And another 14 million are eligible for Medicare, Medicaid and other programs. Moreover, young Americans especially often choose not to be insured.
So that leaves some 8 million Americans (out of a total population of 308 million - or just 2.6 per cent), who are chronically uninsured. So there are a small amount of Americans who do need help, but more federal bureaucracy and red tape is not the way to help these people. We already have the enormous failures of socialised medicine in places like Canada and England to serve as a warning of not going down this path.
And, of course, even the poorest American cannot be denied treatment in an emergency room, and so on. Annual government spending for the uninsured amounts to $31 billion. As Thomas Sowell points out, the ready availability of medical care, regardless of health insurance, acts as a disincentive for people to become insured.
So we need to tread much more carefully here before we start trumpeting ObamaCare, including its provisions for federal funding of abortion.Bill Muehlenberg,