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Survey Data on The Uninsured

Topics: 2008 , The 2008 Race

With the release yesterday of a new health care plan from Sen. Hillary Clinton and the ensuing debate over the respective plans of the other candidates, many blog readers are looking for the source of statistics on the uninsured. As a Swampland commenter asked Time's Karen Tumulty, "Who are the [50 million] uninsured, and where does that number come from?" The answers, not surprisingly, come from surveys and, in this case, very high quality surveys conducted by the federal government.

For those looking to dig into the data, here are three places to start:

  • As Tumulty notes, the Kaiser Family Foundation published a report a year ago that summarizes data on the size of the uninsured population and its demographics from the three government studies cited below
  • The Wall Street Journal's Carl Bialik digs into the numbers behind the Clinton plan, and includes a link to the Census Bureau report (based on data from the Current Population Study).
  • My most reliable source on health care issues (a physician and health policy expert we'll just call the "Pollster-spouse") highly recommends the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS -- their reports on the uninsured are available here).

For the truly educated consumers who want to learn more about the methodology behind these surveys, see the detailed descriptions on the MEPS (here and here), NHIS and CPS studies posted online.

**Regular readers will recall that NHIS also includes questions on cell phone usage that have become vital to all survey researchers concerned about the growth of cell-phone-only households that are out of reach of most telephone surveys.

 

Comments

Not to give the DK poll on Connecticut any more publicity - but if you re-weight it by age according to the 2006 CNN exit poll doesn't it show Lieberman ahead by 50% to 40%?

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