Over 41 million people in America had no health insurance in 2005.

According to a study by the National Center for Health Statistics:

The center’s report says that in 2005, 41.2 million Americans, or 14.2 percent of the population, were uninsured when its survey was conducted. It said 51.3 million had been uninsured for at least part of the prior year and 29.2 million, or 10 percent, had been uninsured for more than a year.

The study is based on a regular survey of more than 98,300 people.

The NCHS, part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, found that insurance coverage varied widely among states, from 6 percent without health insurance in Massachusetts to more than 24 percent without in Texas.

I and my family are among those numbers, but at least we’re not facing any major health problems. My sister-in-law, Angela, however is also among the uninsured and is struggling with a number of life-threatening issues (you can read about it on her blog if you’re interested). According to the survey the situation has improved a little bit since 2004, but that’s still too many people uninsured. You’d think this country out of all of them would be able to solve this problem, but I suppose we’re more interested in wasting trillions fighting illegitimate wars in foreign countries that never asked for our help in the first place and don’t really appreciate us being there. Why improve lives when we’re so much better at ruining them?

26 thoughts on “Over 41 million people in America had no health insurance in 2005.

  1. This is why our country should develope a plan for free health insurance, or maybe a reimbursement program, so there are more companies to choose from.  It’s really a shame that one of the richest countries in the world still can’t solve the health care crisis.

  2. I think nationalizing the insurance industry (or even part of it) would be enough reason. Sometimes the government is the only entity which can establish a valid competitor within an industry, which I think is as true in insurance as it is in standing armies.

  3. One of our staff people’s father died recently, and most of the bill was paid by insurance.  He got an itemization: $21,236.00 (for example).  Later that month, he received a check for $16.40 – “We refund overpayments as soon as possible”.  Then later he got an itemized bill that indicated a balance due of $16.40 “past due”.

    Of course, every time I’ve been in the hospital has been followed by stupid-billing, from both the hospital and insurance company. 

    …yet the major criticism of socialized medicine is that it would be an inefficient bureaucracy.  How could it possibly be more inefficient and convoluted than what we have now?

    You can read lots of other arguments against socialized medicine online, but take your blood-pressure medicine first.  If you can afford it!  mad

  4. I have health insurance and my husband doesn’t because my company only covers the employee.  I’m thankful that I have coverage, but at the same time when he gets sick it cripples us finicially for a couple of months. I’m not sure what the best option is, but something has to be done.  It’s difficult when you have to choose between getting a tooth pulled and groceries!

  5. Everyone knows that Jesus said, “A free market and a bunch of sick people is better than people sharing their wealth so that people live longer.”

    I’m sure that’s in there, probably near the shellfishy bits,“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”, and “Thou Shalt Hate Liberals.”

  6. My idea is this.  DROP THE INSANE TAX CUTS, then increase taxes, and decrease the defense department budget.  Then take the revenue and use it for social programs.  One of them being a health care program.  Let the people decide which hospital they want to go to, and the government reimburses the bill using the tax revenue.  Free health care.

  7. It’s difficult when you have to choose between getting a tooth pulled and groceries!

    Yeh, I’ve kinda learned to forget about the teeth at this point. They’re not much good if you don’t have anything to eat with them. Besides, if I really want to experience the joy of having teeth pulled, I can always go try to apply for what’s left of TennCare ( Tennessee’s version of medicare.. sorta ) I’m self employed and make a bit too much to qualify for it, but not enough to afford real insurance. I’ve been real lucky for many years now, health-wise, but if anything were to happen to me ( FSM forbid! ) I am pert’near fuct.

  8. Imagine, the richest fucting nation in the world, leaving any of its citizens in that condition.  I wonder how much economic opportunity (and potential new business models) is never attempted because in this country, you have to take the safest, least-risky path so you won’t lose your health insurance and be

    pert’near fuct.

  9. Glad I don’t got that problem in Canada.  Here the biggest worry for the government is what is the best possible way to say sorry to Chinese immigrants that were offended by a head tax system sixty or so years ago.  Yay free health care.  Sadly the richest province in our country has the worst health care and the poorest of the lot has all the new cancer gadgets you could dream of.  Odd relation there with wealth.  Either wealth or health, the difference is a world in one letter!

  10. Gee, I’m glad that urban dictionary exists otherwise I’d be pert’near fuct.
    I thought it meant that but m’ heed wouldn’t give me the letter the ’ was replacing. LOL

  11. Speaking of words and dictionaries:  did you guys know that they took the word “gullible” out of the dictionary?

  12. On a tangent, Roger Ebert got dragged into the healthcare debate, and I enjoyed his response:

    Q. I’m always amazed at the irrational nature of the debate on medical care. In your review of “The Death of Mr. Lazarescu,” you state, “At least in Romania he is not asked for his insurance company, and he has a theoretical right to free medical care.” In the next sentence you quote a Romanian doctor who discusses the horrible condition of medical care in his country. Isn’t it obvious that when something is “free” for everyone, it will be inadequate for everyone? Do people get left behind in a medical system that involves free enterprise? Of course they do. But when you have a system where personal responsibility plays no part, you certainly get the system you deserve. I for one am glad that I get asked for proof of insurance when I show up at a hospital. It annoys me that people who cannot do so get treated at my expense anyway.

    Jeff Grant, Centreville, Va.

    A. The hospitals are always looking for volunteers. Maybe you could help them turn away sick poor people.

    Personally, I’d take partially inadequate healthcare over no healthcare anyday.

  13. This is really about civil-rights.
    No human being should be denied life-saving means when available. No human being should be denied a cure or management of any pathology when reasonably available. It’s a fairly simple concept and workable law.

    One eventful day, probably in the close future, all RN’s and MD’s will be nationalized as federal employees along with their respective healthcare facilities and equipment and corporations, along with such all the respective legal protections.

    Sure, it might take place within the context of some sudden national disaster/need where tens of millions of American residents are suddenly in dire need of healthcare, but it *will* push America in the right direction: making healthcare a civil-right.  Without such we’d most assuredly start hearing things like “Arrest the rich!”  (not that that is a bad thing, but…)

    America’s healthcare infrastructure is a tragedy just waiting to emerge, like a diseased boil suddenly popping. America can make national healthcare work and work well, like any system, when we’re sufficiently motivated.

    rob@egoz.org

  14. Psychromorbidus I have news for you.  The people in Canada who go on and on about how bad our health care system is need a reality check. Badly.

    Twenty years ago my mom was sick and we went to the hospitol and spent 4 hrs waiting in emergency becasue it was not life threatening and she saw a doctor same day.  This spring we went to emergency for the kids and waited 4 hours for our turn becasue iot wasn’t life threatening.

    I live in Alberta and my daughter was diagnosed with Cancer 8 weeks ago.  When you ACUALLY have something life threatening you move to the front of the health care bus so fast it makes your head spin.

    Sure, every provice has it’s issues and make no mistake people fall through the cracks and mistakes are made, but do not fool yourself, if you think the health care system here is so bad try any third world nation or most second world.

    The real problem is people here have had it so good for so long their expectations of the system may not be realistic (generally speaking).

  15. What LK said. 

    One of the functions (as opposed to purposes) of every large system is to produce a steady stream of anecdotes for politicians to use in speeches.  When railing against the evils of socialized medicine, they can pick the ones who fell through the cracks, instead of the majority who were well-served.

    But the plural of ‘anecdote’ is not ‘data’.  When you look at longevity, infant mortality, and total cost, the American system fails badly. 

    Even where money gushes through like a severed artery, US emergency rooms don’t do so well, in part because – you guessed it – they are burdened by large numbers of the uninsured.

  16. …But I’ve still got another six dictionaries to check…

    Hell, nowiser, you haven’t even started on my dictionaries.  I’m up until 11 if you want to drop by…

    But the plural of ‘anecdote’ is not ‘data’.

    You’re right, DoF- the plural of ‘anecdote’ is ‘religion’.

    About health care: I’d been heard to grumble about paying my share here in Austria, until I had appendicitis.  Everyone know where their appendix is, if present?  I was home alone in the summer; all my family and friends were away, and suddenly I had this pain in my lower right abdomen.  At first I thought that it couldn’t be my appendix, because I was too old (45 at the time).  But it can happen to any one, at any age.  Finally I called a cab and went to the hospital.  They managed to get it out just before it burst, they told me afterwards.  I was lucky- I spent only five days in the hospital.  I did get a bill for services not covered- the food.  About $24 if I remember correctly.

    As rob says- health care should be considered part of civil rights, and it’s obscene that America doesn’t have universal health care.

  17. Zilch: About health care:

    Our health care system in Oz sounds similar to the one in Canada/Austria.
    If it’s life-threatening you’re in – if it’s not (or if it’s elective) the line can get long.

    As rob says- health care should be considered part of civil rights, and it’s obscene that America doesn’t have universal health care.

    Yep. It’s obscene but not surprising.
    When the greater part of the population is Xian/Capitalist and programmed to be petrified of anything sounding like Socialism/Communism it’s always gonna be more concerned about Drugs, Abortion, Euthanasia and especially Gays and Gay Marriage, than something as obvious as health care or helping the less privileged in society … after all, we all deserve to be where we are, even if we don’t believe in Karma. wink

  18. Here is a little oddity.  The Right in the UK is always moaning about the National Health Service (NHS).  Now, no politician in his right mind is going to propose dismantling it- the political equivalent of saying to Hitler “I’m a gay communist Jew

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