KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Total Number Of Uninsured Difficult To Predict

News reports fact-check some of the numbers and "myths" of health reform.

The total number of uninsured may be a moving target and "could make a huge difference in the billions of dollars it will cost to remake the national system," The Associated Press reports. "Barack Obama frequently cites last year's Census Bureau number of 46 million people with no health insurance." That number may be "off by tens of millions - in one direction or the other" because of "the recession's continuing toll on jobs, a tendency to undercount people on Medicaid and other factors make it hard to come up with an exact number. And the most widely accepted range - 40 million to 50 million - includes some 10 million non-citizens, a detail that's generally overlooked when Obama and others talk about 'uninsured Americans.'" None of the plans currently in congress would cover illegal immigrants. "New Census Bureau figures expected next month could scramble the equation, adding billions in costs if the numbers come in higher than expected, or reducing costs if the numbers are lower" (Werner, 8/5).

CBS News assesses ten "myths" of health reform legislation. For example, they conclude that there is "nothing in any health care reform bill before Congress that would require people to "decide how they wish to die," referring to the claim that the House bill could encourage euthanasia of senior. CBS also disputes the claims that "Americans will lose their private insurance," that "health care legislation mandates taxpayer dollars pay for abortions," and that "health reform will be paid for" without adding to the deficit (Condon, 8/6).

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