One of the first tasks in solving a problem is determining its scope and size. Barack Obama has spent the last several months trying to create a sense of crisis by insisting repeatedly that the nation has 47 million people without health insurance. Earlier this week, I pointed out in another OOTD that this number from the Census Bureau — which is actually 45.6 million, not 47 million — included 10 million non-citizens, almost 6 million of which are here illegally, as well as about a third of the remainder who could buy insurance from employers but choose not to do so. Perhaps Obama reads Hot Air, because as Byron York noticed, that number sounded much different last night:
In his speech tonight, the president introduced a new number in the health care debate. Remember all those statements from Democrats, including Barack Obama himself, that 47 million Americans are without health insurance? That’s no longer the operative number. “There are now more than thirty million American citizens who cannot get coverage,” the president said in tonight’s speech.
But on August 10, at a town hall meeting, Obama referred to the “46, 47 million people without health insurance in our country…” And on July 23, he said, “This is not just about the 47 million Americans who don’t have any health insurance at all…”
Unfortunately, Obama still didn’t get it right. Twelve million of that 47 million are eligible for Medicaid and S-CHIP but haven’t enrolled, so the government already has a solution in place for them. Combined with the 10 million legal and illegal immigrants and those who make enough money to buy insurance but choose not to do so, that leaves us with no more than 14 million Americans who can’t afford to buy it. That’s a far cry from 47 million or even 30 million … but 14 million doesn’t make for good crisis-mongering.
Got an Obamateurism of the Day? If you see a foul-up by Barack Obama, e-mail it to me at [email protected] with the quote and the link to the Obamateurism. I’ll post the best Obamateurisms on a daily basis, depending on how many I receive. Include a link to your blog, and I’ll give some link love as well. And unlike Slate, I promise to end the feature when Barack Obama leaves office.