Democrats at the Feb. 25 health summit argued that under their proposal, 31 million of the 47 million uninsured Americans would receive coverage.
CNN's "American Morning" co-host Kiran Chetry repeated that claim Feb. 26 and asked one of her guests: Kenneth Thorpe, Prof. at the Rollins School of Public Health, about its validity and the debate surrounding the statistic.
"I mean there's 47 million uninsured Americans they [Senate Democrats] argue. And when you talk to Republicans, we talked to Sen. John Cornyn yesterday - ‘No, no, no - that's a wildly inflated number," Chetry said.
"If you can't even necessarily agree on who wants and needs health insurance at various stages of their lives, how can you move forward on who is going to get it under the plan?" Chetry asked.
"Going to the facts are really important as we just have been talking about," Thorpe replied. "According to the Census Bureau, about 46 million Americans on a typical day lack health insurance coverage - so that's a fact."
Actually, it's not a fact even though people from President Obama to filmmaker Michael Moore have claimed it was so.
The Census Bureau reported 45.6 million uninsured people in 2007, but the numbers include nearly 10 million non-citizens and millions who may choose not to have insurance, and millions more who should be able to afford insurance without government assistance.
The Business & Media Institute broke down the uninsured statistics in 2007 and found details from the Census Bureau commonly ignored by the news media:
- 10 million uninsured non-citizens
- More than 17 million of the uninsured make at least $50,000 per year
- 8.4 million made $50,000 to $74,999 per year and 9.1 million made $75,000 or more.
Another segment of the uninsured, 25 percent, according to the liberal Urban Institute already qualifies for government health insurance programs. Other groups have also found that many of the uninsured are temporarily without coverage due to job changes.
Even the liberal Kaiser Family Foundation puts the number of chronically uninsured between 8.2 and 13.9 million people.
Chetry should have set the record straight after the health care summit instead of turning to a guest to confirm inaccurate statistics.