Where in America do the fewest people have health insurance?


We are in the thick of the political season, with one convention ending today, and the other beginning next week.

While many talk about the independents, the swing voters, youth votes, Libertarians, etc., all hard core political types know there is one group of voters who reliably head to the polls every election, and vote in vast numbers: The elderly. The over 55 vote is a key block, and given the swing states this year — particularly Florida, Ohio, and Virgina — we may see this group with an outsized impact.

I suspect the key will be Medicaid and Social Security. how each campaign discusses it, how they are painted by their actions and words, and the issue gets spun.

Towards that end, The Economist created this lovely map (above) showing the percentage of each states population in America where the fewest people have health insurance. Presumably, these folks rely on Medicare or Medicaid for their health care. Note the differences between Florida and Ohio — this issue could impact to some degree the how each state’s populations cast their vote.



Medicaid nation
The Economist online Aug 30th 2012, 14:37

Category: Digital Media, Politics, Taxes and Policy

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

19 Responses to “Medicaid Nation”

  1. Oral Hazard says:

    The GOP is so batshit that Romney has to disavow health care reform in Massachusetts.

  2. BennyProfane says:

    Can’t wait for the debates when Obama mentions the Mass. coverage.

  3. tyaresun says:

    I bought insurance twice for my parents when they visited from India. Both times, when my dad fell sick, the insurance company did not pay the medical bills. The first time it was pneumonia, the second time he broke his collar bone after a fall. The reason given was “pre-existing” condition. How the fuck can these be pre-existing conditions month 5 and 6 into the insurance policy?

    The lesson I learned is do not buy insurance when they visit. Have not bought insurnace for them during their last 4-5 visits. Fuck you very much.

  4. Robert M says:

    Your headline is misleading. Many elderly Americans end up participating in both. They start in Medicare, pay their copays etc and buy a supplement/advantage plan to cover the 80% Medicare doesn’t cover. Given life spans(which is the issue none of the Medicare “reform” plans address) the elderly run out of money and assets. At that point in their lives they go on Medicaid to pay for health care costs for the rest of their lives, usually for hospice care. If you examine the numbers the elderly are the largest users of Medicaid and are far more expensive than poor children and women.

  5. howardoark says:

    The graphic indicates that it it’s the % of people under 65 without insurance, so it wouldn’t be medicare and I’d be surprised if medicade didn’t count as insurance. I think it’s more likely the figure correlates with the working poor.

  6. Molesworth says:

    Rick Perry, Republicans and even The Economist talk about what an economic powerhouse Texas is, but it can’t be with that level of uninsured.

  7. James Cameron says:

    > but it can’t be with that level of uninsured

    Absolutely . . . what kind of an economy produces these types of numbers.? Texas has the highest percentage of uninsured in the country, nearly 1 out of 4:


    Shameful and unconscionable, but you didn’t hear anything about this in the spate of big speeches at the Republican convention, not from Ryan, not from Romney, and certainly not from Harry.

  8. Icouldabenacontendah says:

    The counties with lowest levels of uninsured are all in MA (thank you, Romneycare), with one exception. So who is this intruder that spoils the clean sweep for MA? Why it’s Los Alamos County, NM. Hmmm, wonder why that is?

    It also tells you how bad things are in the rest of NM, which as a state has one of the highest levels of uninsured.

  9. Molesworth says:

    Good question. Government employs Los Alamos.
    Los Alamos National Laboratory is the largest employer in the County. Approximately 7,000 people commute to work at the Laboratory – traveling to Los Alamos from Northern New Mexico, Santa Fe and the Albuquerque metro area, and nearly doubling the Los Alamos population during a standard work week.

  10. krice2001 says:

    Might surprise some that the health care law has mostly worked as intended here in Massachusetts. I suspect Romney never dreamt he’d have to disavow his one significant accomplishment when Governor.

  11. Icouldabenacontendah says:

    I should add that NM ranks among the worst in level of uninsured even with a large Native American population covered by the Indian Health Service (IHS). Most of the other Western states, though not as bad, still are within the second highest tranche. A number of them likewise have significant populations covered by the IHS.

  12. sellstop says:

    The under 65 age group without insurance do NOT have medicare or medicaid. A few on SS/disability may have it. But the most are the working poor and the unemployed. “Private Pay” to use an Emergency Department billing uphemism. They can’t pay. The price has been raised to cover those who can’t pay.

  13. billybob says:

    Frickin’ scandalous! The most obscenely rich country in the world, and we can’t even figure out a way to provide basic, affordable medical coverage to our full population. For shame, for shame.

  14. DeDude says:


    Those were not pre-existing condition. However, the for-profit insurance industry does not care that they are wildly unfair. They know that a high % of people receiving a rejection (no matter how absurd), will not fight back. Even if the company completely gives in to everybody who sends them another letter demanding arbitration – they have still made a big profit by automatically rejecting claims. Since they have stacked the deck in the arbitration process they actually win a lot of those cases – so that is another fat profit. Most insurance companies are scams, so I agree with you to not get any whenever you can afford the consequences.

  15. philipat says:

    It is generally assumed that the elderly will vote against changes to Medicare so will re-elect Obaama. I disagree. The elderly are also more responsible and are able to understand the unsustainability of the fiscal disaster waiting to happen that is The US. For this reason, IMHO, they will vote for common sense and recognise the need for change IF Medicare is still going to be there in ten years time.

  16. PDXPete says:

    State of the Nation:

    In Arkansas, parents generally cannot qualify for Medicaid if their family income is more than 25 percent of the poverty level (in other words, more than $4,770 a year for a family of three), and childless adults generally cannot qualify unless they are disabled. (NYT 6/15/2012)

    So, if you’re an adult in Arkansas that makes more than$4,770 a year, you have to find private insurance on your own. $12,000 annually is ballpark for private insurance, assuming you don’t have a pre-existing condition (then you are SOL). Or maybe your employer provides it.

    And Arkansas isn’t even the “worst” state in Barry’s map.

  17. kaleberg says:

    The working poor aren’t eligible for Medicaid. They just let the tumor grow, the infection persist, the capillaries collapse or whatever, nothing pleasant. Then, when the disease finally becomes acute, they show up at the emergency room and the hospital stabilizes them and pays for it out of various reserve accounts subsidized by raising charges in general. Sometimes it also wipes out whatever savings or home equity they have. Then, they’re released, cured if they are lucky, otherwise until the next stage of the crisis. It’s one of the Four Freedoms that freedom loving Americans love, the freedom to die horribly from disease. I think Norman Rockwell did a painting of it. I forget the other freedoms, but I think one was the freedom to suffer from malnutrition and die of starvation.

  18. victor says:

    Just because you don’t have health insurance it doesn’t mean you don’t get health care. I recall stat’s citing that about 1/3rd of the uninsured have adequate income (i.e. could afford to buy health insurance) but choose not to buy the service, which I always regarded as such NOT a birth right. The other third have inadequate income, qualify for Medicaid but are not enrolled and finally the last third are without insurance, dont qualify for medicaid, many have preexisting conditions, they just show up in the emergency rooms along with the illegals, some being illegals themselves. By the way, surprisingly, many illegals DO have have health insurance either via their employers or on their own.

    Average annual expenditures of all consumer units, 2010 of a total of $48, 109: entertainment; $2,504, health care $3,157 . In 2008 the two categories were equal, see:


  19. philipat says:

    And, according to The NYT, Physicians in The US represent 16% of the top 1% of Income earners:


    The US healthcare system is totally out of control because the “Fee for Service” model never worked anywhere in the world to control costs. Compounded by “Buyer ignorance”, the lack of a truly competitive market and tort issues, this allows providers, including Physicians, to charge, essentially what they want for as many services as they say are needed, without any controls.

    Surely the world’s richest country can find a way to provide basic healthcare services to its people without them having to become either bankruot ot dead? Yes, in Europr, taxes are higher but at least the people live securely in the knowledge that a healthcare catastrophe will not destroy their lives and those of their family.