To: Letter to the Editor, Naples Daily News
Congressional candidate Paige Kreegel understated the severity of our uninsurance problem in your July 22, 2012 article by saying that “only 12 percent to 15 percent of people in the U.S. aren’t insured.” In fact, the uninsured rate has been increasing since 2008, reaching 17.1% in 2011, according to Gallup.
Kreegel suggested that “illegal immigrants” are a major if not the primary cause of the problem. In fact, the majority of the uninsured (81%) are native or naturalized U.S. citizens, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. The number of uninsured who are here illegally is unknown.
Kreegel was correct that “young people just out of college” make up a significant portion of the uninsured. But blaming this on their considering themselves “invulnerable” is not fair. More than half of uninsured young adults are families with at least one full-time worker, but their low incomes make it more difficult for them to afford coverage, according to Kaiser.
Kreegel was also correct that people with pre-existing conditions make up a significant portion of the uninsured. But rather than listing it last among his causes, it would have been more appropriate to list it first. According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, people with pre-existing conditions could be as much as 46 percent of the uninsured.
The Affordable Care Act addresses these challenges. Visit HealthCare.gov and get the facts.
 “More Americans Uninsured in 2011,” Gallup, 1/24/12 –http://www.gallup.com/poll/152162/americans-uninsured-2011.aspx
 “The Uninsured: A Primer” (http://www.kff.org/uninsured/7451.cfm), by The Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured, page 6.
 The ‘Real’ Uninsured, FactCheck.org, 6/24/09 http://www.factcheck.org/2009/06/the-real-uninsured/
 “The Uninsured: A Primer” (http://www.kff.org/uninsured/7451.cfm), by The Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured, page 5.
 “At Risk: Pre-Existing Conditions Could Affect 1 in 2 Americans,” http://www.healthcare.gov/law/resources/reports/preexisting.html