( Congressman Paul Tonko got an earful during his town hall on health care reform yesterday)
I attended some of this town hall meeting. The opponents of the House reform bills were loud and insulting.Their minds are rigid, and they do not want an honest dialogue.Having said that, there are many myths swirling around this debate.It’s important to separate the myths from the reality.Myth 1:There are 50 million uninsured Americans.There are, but this figure blurrs the reality of the segments included in this total.The Census Bureau report “Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2005,” puts the initial number of uninsured people living in the country at 46.577 million.But 10 million are non-citizens. They need health care, and they go to ER for treatment. This costs all of us.“… according to the same Census report, there are 8.3 million uninsured people who make between $50,000 and $74,999 per year and 8.74 million who make more than $75,000 a year. That’s roughly 17 million people who ought to be able to “afford” health insurance because they make substantially more than the median household income of $46,326.”So there are 17 million who could afford their own insurance.That leaves about 20 million that cannot afford health insurance, but may qualify for already existing programs (Medicaid)It is this core that should be the priority in moving to universal care.