Number of uninsured overestimated Posted on September 15, 2009 The Sept. 3 opinion piece “Let facts, not fiction improve health care,” cites a figure of 47 million uninsured Americans. This oft-quoted statistic is a gross overestimation of the problem. A new study by June O’Neill, who served as director of the Congressional Budget Office from 1995 to 1999, shows that nearly half of those uninsured Americans could likely afford to purchase health coverage. These individuals have incomes at least 2.5 times the poverty level, with the average “voluntarily uninsured” household making $65,000 per year. We should not rush into the creation of a new, expensive health care system without a better understanding of the uninsured population. As long as we continue basing our arguments on inaccurate numbers, it’s hard to see how we can make effective policy decisions. Kristen Lopez Eastlick, Senior Economic Analyst, Employment Policies Institute, Washington, D.C.