Patterico @ Patterico Pontifications:
You already know Barack Obama lied to you about ObamaCare, telling his lawyers to claim in court that the charge for failing to buy health insurance was a “tax” — while telling you that it wasn’t.
But that’s not the only deception that was employed.
We were told there were almost 50 million insured in this country. We were told the U.S. does worse that countries with socialized medicine on issues like life expectancy and infant mortality, and other measures. In a speech to the AMA, for example, Obama said:
And yet, for all this spending, more of our citizens are uninsured; the quality of our care is often lower; and we aren’t any healthier. In fact, citizens in some countries that spend less than we do are actually living longer than we do. . . . We are not a nation that accepts nearly 46 million uninsured men, women, and children.
This is only one example of a flood of rhetoric telling us how inferior our health care system is.
The only problem is: it wasn’t true. Let me explain.
(This post shares some things I learned in an EconTalk podcast with Russ Roberts and Scott Atlas. I have received some good feedback from my posts spreading information I learn on Roberts’s podcasts, because it’s not widely discussed on the blogs. I hope you learn something from this.)
MYTH OF 50 MILLION ININSURED
For example, we were told that there were as many as 50 million uninsured people in this country. But as Atlas explained, that number was greatly exaggerated.
First, as we discussed on this blog previously, somewhere between 10 and 15 million of that group are illegal immigrants. That may be a problem, but it’s more of an immigration problem. That does not seem like a reason to turn our health care system upside down.
What about the remaining 35-40 million? Atlas explained that those numbers came from a survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau. And there were about 10 million people who said they didn’t have insurance, but did — as was discovered by cross-referencing the claims with medical records that contradicted the claims. For the most part, these people were using Medicaid, which they may not have considered insurance. Apparently people thought the question was asking about private insurance. But someone who is getting health care through Medicaid is hardly “uninsured.”