Promoting freedom, innovation, and growth

Connect with IPI

Receive news, research, and updates

January 17, 2017

Remember When the Left Cared About the 'Underinsured'?


In the left’s eternal quest to get some type of national health insurance, its health policy mouthpieces came up with the term “underinsured.” 

Everyone knows about the uninsured, but in the 1990s the idea of some 40 million uninsured wasn’t moving the political needle. Not even President Bill Clinton, in his unprecedented push for Clinton Care, could get the job done. 

So the left began stressing the underinsured in order to increase the numbers in the hope of creating more political pressure. For example, here’s a clip from a 2005 Commonwealth Fund report.

In addition to the 45 million uninsured adults in the United States, another 16 million adults were underinsured in 2003, meaning their insurance did not adequately protect them against catastrophic health care expenses, finds a study in Health Affairs. An estimated total of 61 million adults, or 35 percent of individuals, ages 19 to 64, had either no insurance, sporadic coverage, or insurance coverage that exposed them to high health care costs during 2003.

You don’t hear much about the underinsured anymore—because the Affordable Care Act has mostly turned uninsured individuals into underinsured. 

That’s because Obamacare premiums are so expensive that millions of newly covered people have had to settle for extremely high deductibles—deductibles so high that lower- and middle-income families are effectively uninsured.  

Or underinsured, in the pre-Obamacare parlance. 

According to Healthpocket, the average 2017 deductible for an individual in a Bronze plan is $6,092—double that for most family policies—and $3,572 for a Silver plan. 

For most middle-income families a $12,000 deductible for a family is the epitome of coverage that leaves the family overexposed to health care costs. And yet the left remains mostly silent. 

This problem cannot be fixed by tweaking Obamacare. The law—including the mandates and the guaranteed issue and community rating provisions—must be repealed and replaced with a system that will lead to lower premiums and more reasonable deductibles.


  • TaxBytes-New

Copyright Institute for Policy Innovation 2018. All Rights Reserved Privacy Policy Contact IPI.

e-resources e-resources