The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released its latest estimate of uninsured persons in the U.S. in 2013: Between 33 and 45 million. Why so wide a range? CDC analysts appreciate the difference between lacking insurance today and lacking insurance long term:
In 2013, 44.8 million persons of all ages (14.4%) were uninsured at the time of interview, 55.4 million (17.8%) had been uninsured for at least part of the year prior to interview, and 33.4 million (10.7%) had been uninsured for more than a year at the time of interview.
This context has been absent from much of the discussion of ObamaCare’s effects. The most popular estimate of the uninsured nowadays seems to be the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index. I discussed the March release, but decided not to cover the June release until the CDC estimate came out. Here’s why:
According to Gallup-Healthways, the 2013 uninsured rate was between 16.8 percent and 18 percent. That figure appears to correspond closely to the CDC’s estimate of people who had been “uninsured for at least part of the year prior to the interview”. Obviously, this question would have the largest number answering “yes”. However, the question that Gallup poses is simply: “Do you have health insurance coverage?” which looks like CDC’s “uninsured at the time of the interview”. For the CDC that figure is only 14.4 percent.
Gallup-Healthways’ latest estimate is that only 13.3 percent are uninsured, which is a big drop. ObamaCare cheerleaders jumped on this apparent success. However, there are discrepancies between Gallup-Healthways’ estimates and others’ that need to be reconciled before we can read much into its increasingly popular survey.