Uninsured persons are those individuals lacking health insurance. According to the 2009 statistics of the United States census Bureau, 16.7% of the American population was uninsured with the number of the non-elderly being on the rise since then. The causes of the increasing costs and rate of the uninsured population remain a matter to be debated politically. High costs of insurance have led to a scenario whereby most employers are not providing health insurance. When they provide, then employees are made to pay higher contributions.
Most people who are uninsured are jobless and low income citizens. Others prefer religion-related alternatives. Some are ignorant of health insurance simply because they are healthy, while some are regarded as "uninsurable" by insurance companies. The possibilities of non-citizens being uninsured are higher compared to citizens. This can be attributed to the possibility of non-citizens working in low paying jobs that do not provide health benefits.
According to Kaiser Foundation much strain is put on state provision of Medicaid by the downturns, and reports that a small rise in levels of unemployment greatly increases enrolment in the Medicaid. This has led to more spending in the health care system. Kaiser Foundation reports an increase in the number of preventable deaths caused by lack of insurance among the American population.
Uninsured persons have an impact on consumers' health in America. Firstly, more of the uninsured become reluctant to see a doctor when sick, while the insured ones prefer to see a doctor. Secondly, there is a belief of health being below average is high among the uninsured. Lastly, more of the insured seek treatment and management of chronic diseases as compared to the small number of the uninsured who are not participating in such a program.
Health policy should be designed to deal with the costs of the uninsured accessing health care system. This system would seek to replace the open-ended exclusion of all employers from tax. The proposed policy calls for the introduction of vouchers to the poor and a tax credit which is refundable for the high income earners that would be applied when buying health insurance.
This system gets application where polices fulfil certain basic requirements. In case the employer pays the costs of premium partly, the government should give the employee a credit, preferably cash. This policy gives room to many insurance plans that are suitable for different tastes and allow a variety of medical practices. The use of this policy would lead to a plan that finances the uninsured because there is no direct relationship between the vouchers for the low income and tax credits for the high income earners to the individual job occupied at any given time.
The policy provides a number of incentives that encourage the uninsured to get coverage. Businesses that offer coverage to employees would be given a tax break and tax credit offered to people for part of the expenses related to health premiums. The jobless or poor would be exempted and if not so, they will get their insurance at subsidized costs. Employers would have to provide coverage to employees and if they fail to comply, they will have to pay more tax so that will support insurance programs run by the state. The policy would advocate for the elderly without children to be offered Medicaid, while the others buy into Medicare. This would allow the uninsured to access insurance both public and private.
The program will be paid through higher taxes from taxpayers. The uninsured treatment expenses would be taken as charity care by providers and taken to the insured through cost shifting. A clear explanation of the program would rest on the need for all the stakeholders to understand and accept it. Firstly it is to provide all the procedures and the requirements for the enrolment into the program. Secondly, adequate education and awareness would be made to incorporate all who are eligible for coverage despite their social standings. This would decrease the stigma linked to public coverage. For the policy makers a clear explanation of the suitability and sustainability of the program would be required. This program would ease the burden of different states in covering the uninsured.