The uninsured in Minnesota: That’s one way to spin it

Strangely upbeat lead to an Associated Press story on Minnesota’s uninsured:

Minnesota continues to have one of the lowest rates of people without health insurance in the United States with about 444,000 going without.

Another way to put it: if the state’s nearly half a million uninsured gathered in one spot, they would comprise Minnesota’s largest city … with enough left over to fill the Metrodome for a Vikings game.

Comments (9)

  1. Submitted by Ed Stych on 09/10/2009 - 06:13 pm.

    How is the AP spinning anything when the writer is simply presenting facts? There are 444,000 uninsured in Minnesota. That’s one of the lowest in the country. Those are facts. The writer didn’t even use the subjective “only” (as in “only 444,000) that so many “objective” journalists tend to use with statistics.

    By the way, I see that MA has an uninsured rate of 5.5 percent. I thought it had some form of universal health care. What gives? And MA’s rate is only about three points lower than Minnesota’s.

    I see the AP and MinnPost are still using the 46 million uninsured number … but the president is now using 30 million. Which the correct inflated number?

  2. Submitted by David Brauer on 09/10/2009 - 06:25 pm.

    Ed – there are lots of facts. The way you assemble them can lead to different takeaways.

    For example, my equation: Minnesota’s uninsured = Mpls population + the Metrodome … is also factual.

    I don’t object to including Minnesota’s lowest-in-the-nation uninsured designation. But 444,000 is still a hell of a lot of people. That reality wasn’t reflected in the piece.

  3. Submitted by Joe Johnson on 09/10/2009 - 08:56 pm.

    I think we should do a study in MN about how many of the 444k have a cell phone, cable, internet service, and don’t get/want minncare. There is no way that many MN citizens wouldn’t have healthcare if they wanted it. A percentage of people in every population won’t make the prudent decision. Why should the majority pay for the indiscretion of the few. I don’t know why you are so naive to think that everyone that is without heath insurance can’t afford it. Most of them are the product of the Worst Generation that thinks everything is owed to them. If my parents generation had half the grit of their parents this topic wouldn’t be conversation worthy.

  4. Submitted by Joe Johnson on 09/11/2009 - 07:59 am.

    O Britt, I don’t regard myself as a realist. I regard my self as not in the bottom 90%. If there is such thing as the greatest generation it would only be reasonable to assume there would be a worst. I don’t know if they are knowingly ungrateful bastards, but I would bet most the uninsured(not without health care)have had numerous opportunities to obtain a lifestyle that could have insurance. The post the David references indicates only 8.7 of the population is uninsured. A curtain percentage of the population is going to suck at life no matter what programs are enacted, so 8.7% seems reasonable.

  5. Submitted by Mark Gisleson on 09/11/2009 - 03:13 pm.

    The President has been catering to the right and using their figures. The Census folks just came out with the 2008 numbers and they show 46.3 million Americans are uninsured.

    But I’m sure each and every one of those uninsured Americans is defective, evil, and rotten, and don’t deserve their God-given right to have their insurance claims denied by an insurance company death panel.

  6. Submitted by T J Simplot on 09/11/2009 - 03:56 pm.

    That 46 million uninsured can also be read several different ways. For example, that number includes anyone who went without insurance for just one day, not the entire year. Lots of people do not take COBRA right away when they leave their company because they have 6o days to elect COBRA and then another 30 to pay for it. If they start a new job within those 60 days, they don’t pay their COBRA but count as being uninsured.

    Others of those 46 mil can afford insurance but choose to go without it. They feel they are invincible and would rather spend their premium dollars elsewhere.

  7. Submitted by Mike Haubrich on 09/11/2009 - 09:34 pm.

    Or a bunch of those 444,000 work for employers whose small group rates are so high that their employers can’t afford to cover them, and trying to buy insurance on your own for a family of four costs more than rent; still having high deductibles and co-pays so that it isn’t even worth buying.

    The sad thing is that 444,000 people is considered a “positive” thing in Minnesota’s favor, when vaccination time comes around and people can’t afford to get the shots, putting the general public at risk. Conservatives drive me crazy with this assumption that the poor are spending all of their money on cable, cigarettes and beer.

    In Joe’s world, everyone can be rich and in the top 10%, right? This is, after all, America where the tax code doesn’t favor those who all ready have the most money and whine, whine, whine and threaten to “go Galt” when someone mentions evening out the burden so that the working class don’t continue to get the shaft, right? We should be grateful that we are supporting the wealthy with our labor!

  8. Submitted by Bernice Vetsch on 09/12/2009 - 12:10 am.

    Ed Stych (#1) The Massachusetts Plan, developed and enacted when Mitt Romney was governor, is the one being used as a model for most (all??) of the current plans under consideration in Washington.

    Purchasing insurance is mandatory; those who refuse to do so will have a certain amount of state tax added to their taxes-due statement.
    If they are poor, the state will subsidize their purchase. It is punitive rather than helpful, and has added untold layers of new private and public bureacracy, which also costs money but adds no value.

    The plan has yet to achieve universality or to reduce costs. It ran $300-$400 million over budget in 2007 and the 2008 overrun was expected to be $500-$800 million over budget.

    Apparently, Massachusetts had more poor people than they planned for. To ease the money shortage, the state recently dropped from the program 28,000 LEGAL immigrants (how Pawlenty-like). What they are supposed to do for health care, I don’t know.

    The state has also been sued by one of Boston’s largest hospitals because its payments to the hospital are so low it will soon be unable to serve poor patients.

    This poor excuse for a “universal” health care plan works so well, say many in Congress, that they want to make all 50 states adopt one of the plans cloned from it. If this is reform, I’d like to see Congress kill it and begin anew (but without Baucus and his Gang of Six).

    They need to look at the common-sense inexpensive, simple, and effective systems used in every other industrialized country WITHOUT trying to write legislation that increases the power and profits of the insurance industry instead of the need of American voters/patients.

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