Considering that last night he said we have seen scare tactics instead of honest debate, President Obama was quick to engage in scare tactics of his own. The current panic — the ranks of the uninsured rose close to 6 million these past 12 months. *gasp!* Quick, get the smelling salts! I’m about to faint.
Or not. But I do have to question his numbers. He mentioned 30 million uninsured in his speech last night before the joint session of Congress. But the Census Department puts the number of uninsured at 46.3 million. This discrepancy isn’t that hard to explain since there is a difference between the people in the two uninsured groups mentioned here. President Obama specifically refers to “30 million American citizens” while the census numbers are not limited just to Americans. This tells me that there are about 16 million illegals in the U.S. who are uninsured.
When Obama stated that illegals would not be covered under his health care plan, Republican Congressman Joe Wilson of South Carolina shouted out “You lie!” If we do a little Clinton-era word parsing, then Obama is correct — his plan doesn’t cover illegals, or Americans for that matter, because he hasn’t actually released a plan. He’s been relying on Congress to do the work for him, but that’s where he runs into problems. A Senate HELP Committee version of the health care bill excludes illegals on page 111. But House Bill HR3200 doesn’t contain any similar language excluding illegals, as confirmed by the Congressional Research Service.
So who exactly are these uninsured people in America? Editorial cartoonist Michael Ramirez breaks it down in this cartoon:
I can’t get all excited about insuring those people who certainly could afford it but choose not to spend their money that way. Likewise, I’m not concerned about those who could get government funding but haven’t signed up for it. And I am certainly not interested in insuring people who are here illegally. That leaves only those people who are in-between jobs and so are uninsured. The cure for them is less government involvement, not more. After all, health care insurance as a job benefit is the result of government meddling in the free market. The solution is to have less government meddling, not more. After all, if you find you are over your head in a hole, the solution is to stop digging, not investing in more shovels.
And finally I have to point to a great video by Stuart Browning about the uninsured in America. If you can watch Faye Chao at 3:10 – 3:30 in the video without wanting to slap her free-loading face, you’re a better person than I am.