From St. Petersburg Times:
Many people assume that the 47 million Americans who don't have health insurance simply can't afford it.
But the fact is, some don't want it.
Among the 47 million are 9.1 million who earn $75,000 or more a year and 11 million who declined coverage from their employers, according to estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau and the Employment Policies Institute. That also includes many who are young, single and healthy, plus a growing number who rely on alternative and faith-based therapies usually not covered by traditional insurance plans.
These are the voluntarily uninsured, people who may not welcome Washington's efforts to make sure that all Americans have some kind of coverage.
Talk of mandatory health insurance coverage is getting louder. On Thursday, Senate leaders announced that their legislation would require people to carry health insurance or face fines of more than $1,000.
"One thing for everybody doesn't make sense," said June O'Neill, a professor of economics at City University of New York and co-author of "Who are the Uninsured?'' The report, issued last week by the Employment Policies Institute, calls the 47 million figure a "relatively coarse measurement" that doesn't help craft effective policy.
O'Neill divides the uninsured population by:
• Income: 43 percent make more than 21/2 times the poverty level, or $55,125 for a family of four.
• Age: half are under 35.
• Marital status: half are single.
Concludes O'Neill: "There are other things they would rather do with their money" than buy insurance. (accent is mine)