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opinion from the late,

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by No RX Plavix, John R. Graham | San Francisco

Last month, the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research released its California Health Insurance Survey, Plavix craiglist, and the media promptly sounded the alarm. Plavix uk, According to the March 16 Los Angeles Times, “nearly 1 in 4 Californians under age 65 had no health insurance last year.”

With that kind of horror story, how can 58 percent of Americans, 250mg Plavix, according to an April 12 Rasmussen poll, 30mg Plavix, want to repeal the new federal takeover of health care. Surely, anything is better than a “system” that leaves one-quarter of children and working-age adults uninsured, 40mg Plavix. If one-quarter of us were homeless, 10mg Plavix, for example, support for any reform would surely be close to universal.

Indeed, the data for homelessness helps clarify why we’re not in the panic about health care the establishment thinks we should be, No RX Plavix. It also helps us understand why scholars, 150mg Plavix, the media, Plavix india, and the government are not giving us the information we really need to make good decisions on how to reform health insurance.

The National Alliance to End Homelessness reported last month that 671,859 people experienced homelessness any given night in 2007, Plavix paypal. So how many people were homeless that year. Plavix australia, It depends on the average spell of homelessness. No RX Plavix, If each person had been homeless for the whole year, then 671,859 people were homeless in 2007. However, if each person were homeless for only one night, Plavix coupon, then the total number of homeless people in 2007 was 245 million: about four-fifths of the population. Plavix mexico, The truth is somewhere in between.

The homeless advocates divide their constituents into “chronically” and “non-chronically” homeless. No such luck with those who survey the Golden State’s uninsured, 1000mg Plavix, which explains why the sound bite proclaiming one-quarter of Californians uninsured is misleading.

The UCLA scholars’ estimate of 8.2 million uninsured were “uninsured all or part of” 2009, No RX Plavix. 20mg Plavix, A 2003 report by the Congressional Budget Office makes clear a rapid “cycling” of people through health insurance. If we look only at people uninsured for the month of March, 1998, Plavix overseas, 8 percent were uninsured for four months or less, 100mg Plavix, 14 percent were uninsured for five to 12 months, and 78 percent were uninsured for more than 12 months. However, Plavix usa, if you look at people uninsured for some time during the whole 12 months of July 1996 through June 1997, 50mg Plavix, 45 percent were uninsured for four months or less. [Emphases added]

The current recession is undoubtedly causing people to lose health coverage. No RX Plavix, However, whether these spells of uninsurance will be longer or shorter than the historical average remains to be seen. Another major problem is more epistemological: Health policy scholars insist on categorizing those on state welfare programs, Plavix us, such as Medi-Cal or Healthy Families, Plavix ebay, as “insured,” rather than uninsured. This results in a bias towards more government dependency, Plavix japan.

Unemployed Californians are eligible for CalWORKs assistance as cash, 750mg Plavix, but we’d never categorize people who receive these welfare payments as “employed.” Similarly, we’d never say that homeless people in a temporary shelter are no longer homeless.

Categorizing people dependent on Medi-Cal and Healthy Families as “insured” hides the truly destructive consequences of these programs to families’ self-reliance, 200mg Plavix. The same UCLA survey suggests that the kids are alright because only 13 percent of children were “uninsured” for all or part of 2009, No RX Plavix.

But this disguises the reality that the share of California kids with private health insurance dropped from 58 percent in 2001 to 51 percent in 2009, Plavix canada, while the proportion on Medi-Cal or Healthy Families climbed by almost the same amount up to 32 percent. The percentage uninsured barely budged. Instead, 500mg Plavix, the growth of government merely crowded out privately chosen health insurance.

Even worse, most of this occurred during good economic times. No RX Plavix, From 2001 through 2007, California’s unemployment rate dropped from 6.4 percent to 5.8 percent. Nevertheless, the share of kids dependent on government welfare for medical services increased from 24 percent to 29 percent.

Defining and measuring the “uninsured” is critical to good health policy. Unfortunately, the way we do it in California leads only to relentless expansion of government, instead of more individual control of access to health care. CRO

John R. Graham is Director, Health Care Studies,  Pacific Research Institute

copyright 2010 PRI.

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