Georgia’s uninsured

We hear that their are current 1.6 million people uninsured in our state. It’s kind of a blanket statement, just like when pundits say there are 45 to 47 million people uninsured on a national level. The issue is much more complex than the rhetoric that comes with the numbers.

In today’s Georgia Public Policy Foundation weekly commentary, Ronald E. Bachman breaks down the uninsured in Georgia into four categories.

  • Uninsured Eligible for Government Programs
  • Uninsured Not Needing Financial Assistance
  • Uninsured Needing Some Financial Assistance
  • The Uninsurable

Bachman estimates that about 10% of the 1.6 million (160,000) are truly uninsured, another 560,000 (35%) are in need of some sort of financial assistance and 320,000 (20%) are already eligible for government programs (Medicaid and PeachCare).

Another 35% of the 1.6 million can afford health insurance but choose not to buy.

However, Bachman’s article is in support of Perdue’s plan to subsidize health insurance for small businesses. But rather than subsidizing the state should be encouraging individuals to take charge of their health insurance by offering dollar-for-dollar tax credits on health insurance premiums and medical expenses. And as Bachman eludes to, eliminating the tax on health insurance policies.

On a national scale, Cato Institute scholar Michael Cannon puts the number of the uninsured who qualify for government programs 20%. Cannon says these individuals are “effectively insured.” He also quotes studies that a significant number of individuals that fall into the “uninsured” could afford coverage, but elect not to. He puts the number of individuals who are continuously without coverage at around 10 million people…and one in six of that number make more that four times the poverty level.

There are market-based solutions, it’ll take government reducing its role in the health insurance market and allowing individuals to have control over there healthcare in order for them to happen.


  1. GabrielSterling says:

    Jason is correct…This “crisis” of the uninsured is always overstated. It is a ruse used by liberals to impose more government on the rest of us. It is classic…create a crisis…move the government in as the “only solution”.

    An underlying cause of this issue is government interference in the healthcare market dating back to WWII. Wage and price controls of that era forced us down the path of third party payment.

    Putting individuals back in full charge of their healthcare choices is the long term solution.

  2. InformedPolicy says:

    Talking about market based solutions is a narrow minded solution for a much bigger problem. If one wants to seriously talk about creating affordable health care for the masses, then we must talk about chronic diseases and how to deal with their rising costs.

    Take obesity of example. Over 25% of Georgian are obese. Now compare the amount of money health insurance and the government spends on treating the complications of obesity (ie, coronary artery disease, diabetes, hypertension, etc.) to how much they spend on helping people lose weight. I would bet you it is 100 to one. Now ask yourself, are doctors reimbursed when their patients lose weight? Nope, but they are reimbursed for the hundreds of expensive procedures that treat diseases associated with obesity.

    Until you change the way we deliver health care, the costs will continue to rise and no matter how much money your throw at the problem, it will never be enough.

    Americans, liberal and conservative alike, need to face the glaring truth. The only way to increase life expectancy and quality of life is to restructure our health care system to start promoting health and quality of life and stop simply treating chronic diseases.

  3. Ah yes Gabriel, and I’m sure they will do as good of a job with their health insurance as they do with auto and hurricane insurance (in areas where hurricanes hit).

    Tell me, would you mandate that individuals carry health insurance (even if it is self purchased) the same way that we mandate drivers carry auto insurance (or verify with the state that they have enough money to self insure)?

  4. Jane says:

    I work two sometimes three part time jobs. One job is currently for the state. I have not had insurance for most of my 20 or so years as a working adult and I do not have health insurance now. The state does not provide health insurance for part time employees and like much of business, they are relying more on contract workers and part time employees in my particular field. I am not complaining, I think there should be fewer rather than more mandates by the government. However, if the state of Georgia is adopting the Walmart model of employee benefits, we should not expect the private sector to set a better example.

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