Clarification on health insurance issues |

Clarification on health insurance issues

As one of the speakers March 11 at the Colorado Mountain College/Keystone Center symposium, I am concerned about the article, “No easy solutions to health care woes.” The story reported on the three presentations and could give a mistaken impression that lack of health insurance is largely limited to minorities, many of whom are not interested in coverage.

Minorities, indeed, are disproportionately more likely to be uninsured. Among the under-65 population, Americans of Hispanic origin stand out with 35 percent being uninsured, compared to 20 percent of black non-Hispanics, 7 percent of white non-Hispanics and 20 percent for other ethnic groups such as Asians and Native Americans.

While the reasons are several, the high rate of uninsurance among Hispanics likely reflects their being disproportionately employed by small employers with a low-wage work force rather than, as mentioned in the article, cultural barriers that lead to lack of interest in obtaining coverage.

Other reasons for not having health insurance includes its affordability and being denied coverage.

Uninsured people can be found in all racial and ethnic groups. Because non-Hispanic whites are more numerous, they account for the greatest number of the uninsured in absolute numbers, contrary to what is stated in the article.

The Census Bureau estimates some 41 million Americans are uninsured at any point in time, and 75 million lack insurance at some time during the year. Of these, 47 percent are white non-Hispanic, 30 percent are Hispanic, 16 percent are black non-Hispanic, 5 percent are Asian and South Pacific Islanders and 2 percent are Native Americans.

Whatever the reasons for being uninsured, as a nation we can do better, as have Western European countries, all of which have universal or near-

universal coverage, making high medical bills or becoming uninsured simply not the fear that it is to so many Americans.

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