Thanks for making it all the way through this series of posts analyzing and discussing the President’s health care remarks at the Portsmouth, New Hampshire town hall.

I have converted this entire series into a memo for easy printing and reading.

If you’d like the entire series in printed form, here is a PDF of all 2o posts in one document.

THE PRESIDENT: I don’t have to explain to you that nearly 46 million Americans don’t have health insurance coverage today. In the wealthiest nation on Earth, 46 million of our fellow citizens have no coverage. They are just vulnerable. If something happens, they go bankrupt, or they don’t get the care they need.

But of those 45.7 million people:

  • 6.4 million are enrolled in Medicaid or S-CHIP and just gave the Census taker the wrong answer. I’m serious. This is called the Medicaid undercount.
  • Another 4.3 million are eligible for Medicaid or S-CHIP and have not enrolled. If they need care, the hospital or clinic generally enrolls them. They are protected against risk even though they don’t show up on the rolls as insured.
  • Another 9.3 million are non-citizens. Different people come to different conclusions about what portion of this group should receive taxpayer-subsidized health insurance.
  • Another 10.1 million have income more than three times the poverty line.
  • Leaving about 15.6 million remaining uninsured, of whom about 5 million are childless adults.

The 46 million figure is technically correct, but it dramatically overstates the size of the population that many Americans would conclude is deserving of additional taxpayer subsidies.

I wrote about this topic in early April: How many uninsured people need additional help from taxpayers?

I hope you have found this series of posts to be a positive contribution to a civil, impassioned, informed policy debate.

Here are all 20 posts in this series:

  1. The President’s overpromise that everyone can keep their health plan
  2. Putting the government in charge of your health insurance
  3. Waiting in line
  4. Government-mandated benefits
  5. Preventive care does not save money (in the aggregate)
  6. The House bill would increase short-term, 10th year, and long-term budget deficits
  7. The President was incorrect — AARP opposes the bill
  8. The bills would take Medicare savings needed for solvency and spend them on a new entitlement
  9. Medicare is not a good example of government-run health care because Medicare is fiscally unsustainable
  10. Even if the public option drops out of legislation, other parts of these bills would put private insurance under government control
  11. The President says the public option will keep private insurers honest at the same time he proposes cutting payments to private insurers competing with the Medicare public option
  12. The pending bills would move more cost-benefit decisions from insurers to people chosen by the government
  13. Guaranteed renewal and guaranteed issue
  14. The President says “we may be able to get even more than” the $80 B of budgetary savings that the pharmaceutical industry thought was a ceiling promised by the White House.
  15. The President says he’s not “promoting” a single-payer plan, but the only concern he raises is a disruptive transition.
  16. Many examples suggest that the government cannot compete on a level playing field with private firms.
  17. The President trashes the U.S. Postal Service and undermines the case that government can run a complex health system.
  18. The President understates the annual cost of new spending by a factor of two.
  19. The President says that 2/3 of the offsets come from Medicare and Medicaid spending, while the only public estimate (for the House Bill) shows 21% instead. He also advocates a tax proposal that Congressional Democrats killed last Winter.
  20. There are 46 million people who are technically uninsured, but the target population is probably one-third to one-half that size.

I agree with the President that America needs to have a vigorous and well-informed debate about the substance of health care reform. I hope this series contributes to that debate.