I think, after this, we can officially designate Megan McArdle as the America’s Stupidest Blogger™.
But never mind that, let us watch McMegan as she dances and glides and grand jetés around the question of what we talk about when we talk about the uninsured:
Megan McArdle:…. There are also the problem of the uninsured, but the number of sick people that currently lack access to the system because of insurance issues is probably somewhere between 1–2% of the system. (That’s because uninsured status is heavily tied to being either young and healthy, or an immigrant who probably won’t be helped by whatever Obama puts together.) Interestingly, this is less than the 2.6% of people who are now uninsured in Massachusetts. I think there are probably better ways of helping them than gut rehabbing the system.
Later someone gets back to this with a "WTF? say what?"
..but the number of sick people that currently lack access to the system because of insurance issues is probably somewhere between 1–2% of the system.: I suppose by "sick" you mean people denied health insurance because of pre-existing conditions. But then you go on to compare that with ALL uninsured in MA for any reason. Talk about apples and oranges!! There are over 15% of the American people who do not have health insurance (for any reason). Compare that with MA’s 2% – 3%.
Megan McArdle: Right, but I don’t find the plight of people who don’t have health insurance, and also don’t need health care, very interesting. I am interested in whether sick people are not getting treatment that could help them. And in whether the programs being proposed will change that. In the case of young people, it will actually help very few, because most don’t need expensive treatment. In the case of immigrants, it will help very few, because politically, helping them is not very popular.
Let’s go to replay and look at that one more time:
Right, but I don’t find the plight of people who don’t have health insurance, and also don’t need health care, very interesting.
Because none of these people will ever ever ever get sick. And they will also never need umbrellas because it will never ever rain again.
But let’s move on to people that McMegan does finds interesting. Young people. Just like McMegan!
In the case of young people, it will actually help very few, : I think you need to retake Insurance 101. If you only insure people who are going to use it, that is not insurance.
Megan McArdle: Right, but then we’re just arguing about who to tax to pay for those who need care and can’t now get it. Young uninsured people are a plausible group, but most of them aren’t actually better off.
This will not play well in Williamsburg. No new iPhone 3G for you. Grandma needs a hip replacement so all your Mojito money are belong to us.
Also, the Brown people seem to be a problem:
Since the late 1980s, when we began collecting statistics on this, the percentage of native born Americans who are insured has dropped from roughly 87% to roughly 85%–you can get numbers that are more or less dramatic depending on your choice of start and end year, but in no case is the drop as much as 5 percentage points.
When Massachussetts enacted its plan, the percentage of uninsured dropped from over 11% to bout 2.5%. The cost of caring for the uninsured, however, fell by less than half. I have to believe a lot of that is driven by immigrants who aren’t in the tax system.
About 40% of the long-term uninsured are Latino. Remember, the dramatic 47 million figure you hear includes people who are uninsured for as little as a day–my fiancé is uninsured by this metric, even though he has been using his quite good health insurance quite a bit recently. The chronically uninsured are about 18 million. And as I say, almost half are Hispanic.
Juan tiene catarro. Lo siento, Juan. .Correr! LaMigra! Aiiieee … aiiieeee!
So what grand health care plan does McMegan propose that persuaded the WaPo to invite her to respond to her heavily moderated and screened questions with all of her "hypotheticals" and "competitive equilibrium" thought experiments?
Washington, D.C.: You want to means-test Medicare? That will go over well with the seniors!
Megan McArdle: You seem to be under the mistaken impression that I have a workable political program. I’m a libertarian. My political ideas are always unpopular.
You could have knocked me over with the invisible hand.