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New EPI Healthcare Study by June O'Neill Shows Uninsured 'Crisis' Wildly Overestimated
Date:6/23/2009

Former CBO Director and Member of the President's Council of Economic Advisors' Authors New Report Titled "Who are the Uninsured?"

WASHINGTON, June 23 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today the Employment Policies Institute (EPI) released a new study which shows that the widely employed estimate of 47 million uninsured Americans is a misleading representation of the problem. The study, authored by Drs. June and David O'Neill of Baruch College and City University of New York, shows that more than 43 percent, or 18 million, of uninsured Americans ages 18-64 could likely afford health coverage and are actually "voluntarily uninsured." June O'Neill served as Director of the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) from 1995-1999.

Current policy proposals dramatically overestimate the cost of providing affordable health insurance for those Americans who currently cannot afford coverage due to a lack of understanding of who the involuntarily uninsured population is, why they lack coverage, and the amount of health care resources that they currently access. With greater understanding and recognition of the diversity within the uninsured population, the goal of providing affordable health insurance to all Americans should be possible with solutions that cost far less than the CBO's estimated figure of $1.6 trillion for implementing recent congressional proposals that would only address two-thirds of the problem.

"We urge policymakers not to rush the healthcare debate. This study shows that we need to better understand American's uninsured population and the factors affecting both coverage and access to care," said study author Dr. O'Neill. "This new information about the current uninsured population will increase policymakers' power to target those truly 'at risk,' provide the best coverage and health care access options for each population and decrease the cost of covering the uninsured."

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SOURCE Employment Policies Institute
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