Originally Posted By: WendyR
Sorry, Jay. As I am not a citizen of the United States, my knowledge is limited. However, the following quotes come from an article in Wikipedia: .......

Wendy - It is much more complex then the Wiki article and subsequent quotes would lead you to believe. To make a valid assessment, we need to start with a basic agreement of what exactly constitutes poverty. People in this country have very different standards that they try to force into the poverty definition. (I can afford week long family trip to Disney, but I am too poor to pay for health insurance.) In almost any other country, our poor would be considered well off. At what point are you living in poverty? What responsibility do individuals have to try to seek solutions to their difficult financial circumstances? And what exactly defines difficult financial circumstances anyway? The US government, state agencies, and many charitable organizations (among others) use the poverty threshold or poverty guidelines (aka the poverty line) calculated annually by the US Department of Health and Human Services - see link.

In the US, qualifying individuals and families earning less then 133% of the poverty line qualify for Medicaid. (That would be $22,050 X 1.33 = $29,326 for a family of four.) Individuals who do not meet the income guidelines, but are medically needy qualify for Medicaid in 32 states and two territories in the US. Many states sponsor low cost health plans available for purchase. Here is a link to one state's website: http://www.coverfloridahealthcare.com/ - Other states offer similar programs. Families earning up to 300% of the poverty line are eligible to enroll their children in SCHIP ($66,150 for a family of four).

There is absolutely no reason for a child in the US to be uninsured. If their family makes up tp 300% of the poverty line, they qualify for assistance. If they make more then that, they do not need assistance. There is certainly no reason for a child in need of medical, dental or vision care to go without. (My children attend public school in one of the wealthiest school districts in the nation. Very few children in the district need or qualify for any type of financial assistance. Yet, I can not sign my kids up for school, camp or sports without being bombarded by information about SCHIP, the free School Lunch Program, subsidized school uniforms, free vision screenings, low cost eyeglasses, low cost or free school physicals, etc, etc. It is not because it is a wealthy county with excess money to burn. When we lived in a rural county that was classified as "disadvantaged" we were bombarded by the same amount of information. )

There is little reason for the average adult in America to be uninsured. One exception would be an individual who does not (yet) meet the definition of disabled, but has a chronic medical condition; who is earning above the poverty line; is ineligible for group health insurance (which by law faces severe limitations on pre-existing condition clauses - see the HIPAA Act); was unable for a variety of reasons to transition a previous group health insurance policy to a private policy; and cannot afford to pay the premiums for private health insurance. These are the people that we need to help. These are the people that the politicians should be focused on. These are the people who are largely being ignored in this fracas. Not all uninsured adults fall into this category. Their numbers are actually very few. Unfortunately, because of the nature of this disease, I am sure that a disproportionate number of Spondys do fall into this category. Again, these are the people we should be helping.

Things are not as dire as some in the media and politicians with agendas would have you believe. Most Americans do in fact have health insurance - and the majority of them are satisfied with their plans. We DO need to do something to help the people who are legitimately uninsured. I believe that forcing the majority of Americans to change their way of life for the benefit of the few is the wrong way to "fix" the problem. Polling data seems to agree with me.