So far, the debate over repealing the Affordable Care Act has focused mostly on the cost of the program and how it will or won't affect people who already have health insurance. It's not too hard to figure out why. Most Americans have insurance and those who don't have insurance are more likely to be poor.
But middle-class people lose coverage too, as a new government study makes clear. Via CBS News:
More than 59 million Americans had no health insurance for at least part of 2010, an increase of 4 million from the previous year, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control reported Tuesday. While the worsening economic conditions did have a direct impact on the number of Americans with coverage, the situation also meant that a far greater number of Americans are forgoing needed medical care because of costs.
"Both adults and kids lost private coverage over the past decade," Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the C.D.C., said at a news conference, according to the Reuters news agency. ...
The CDC analyzed data from the National Health Interview Survey or NHIS for 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009 and the first quarter of 2010 for its report. One of the many discoveries of this in-person survey conducted by the CDC was the shifting makeup of the uninsured population of America.
"The first myth is that it's only the poor who are uninsured," Friden said. "In fact, half of the uninsured are over the poverty level and one in three adults under 65 in the middle income range--defined arbitrarily here between $44,000 and $65,000 a year for a family of four--were uninsured at some point in the year."
For the record, official projections suggest that the Affordable Care Act will eventually reduce the ranks of the uninsured by about 32 million people. That ought to figure prominently in the discussions of repeal, no matter how rich or poor those 30 million are.