Census Statistics Don’t Tell Complete Story Posted on September 26, 2010 Though a new report from the Census Bureau says that 50.7 million Americans went without health insurance last year (”Census: 1 in 7 Americans lives in poverty,” Sept. 16), this statistic doesn’t provide a complete picture of the nation’s uninsured. A 2009 study co-authored by Dr. June O’Neill, who served as the director of the Congressional Budget Office from 1995-99, showed that nearly half of uninsured Americans aged 18 to 64 could likely afford to purchase health insurance. While the labor market has since changed, the conclusion is the same: Millions are presently uninsured by choice. Instead of passing a costly health care law that requires almost everyone to purchase insurance — even people who don’t want to — Congress should have focused specifically on Americans who wanted coverage but couldn’t afford it. Michael Saltsman Research Fellow Employment Policies Institute Washington, D.C.