Obama Again Inflates Number of Uninsured Americans--Falsely Claiming '46 Million of Our Fellow Citizens Have No Coverage'

August 12, 2009 - 11:58 AM
In a town hall meeting in Portsmouth, N.H., yesterday that was aimed at "setting the record straight" on health care reform, President Obama again inflated the number of uninsured Americans.

President Obama jogs up the steps to speak at town hall meeting about health care, Aug. 11, 2009, at Portsmouth High School in Portsmouth, N.H. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

(CNSNews.com) - In a town hall meeting in Portsmouth, N.H., yesterday aimed at “setting the record straight” on health care reform, President Obama again falsely stated the number of uninsured Americans, this time saying it was 46 million, down a million from the 47 million uninsured Americans he falsely said there were in a primetime press conference less than a month ago.

The president's claim yesterday that there are 46 million uninsured Americans overshoots the Census Bureau’s official estimate by about 10 million people—a mistake that is more than 7 times larger than the 1,315,809 people that the Census Bureau estimates make up the entire population of the state of New Hampshire.
 
“I don't have to explain to you that nearly 46 million Americans don't have health insurance coverage today,” Obama said in his remarks at the beginning of the town hall meeting. “In the wealthiest nation on Earth, 46 million of our fellow citizens have no coverage. They are just vulnerable.”
 
In fact, the latest available government statistics on the number of uninsured in America comes from the Census Bureau’s “Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2007,” which is published every August. (The Census Bureau report that will estimate the number of uninsured in 2008 will be released later this month.)

The current report says that there were 35.920 million uninsured U.S. citizens and 9.737 million uninsured foreign nationals in the United States.
 
Table 6 on page 22 of the report says that in 2007 there were a total of 45.657 million uninsured people residing in the United States. The table provides a breakout on the demographics of these 45.657 uninsured, indicating that it includes 33.269 million native born citizens and 2.651 million naturalized citizens, for a total of 35.920 U.S. citizens who are uninsured.

The report also states there were also 9.737 million persons in the United States in 2007 who were “not a citizen” and who did not have health insurance.
 
The Census Bureau does not ask people their legal status, so the report does not indicate how many of these 9.737 million uninsured foreign nationals were illegal aliens, or legal permanent residents, or people studying or working in the United States.

Since his July 22 primetime press conference, President Obama has actually decreased his claim of the number of uninsured “Americans” by 1 million people.  That night, Obama said there were 47 million uninsured Americans.
 
“This is not just about the 47 million Americans who have no health insurance,” Obama said in a prepared statement at the start that press conference. “Reform is about every American who has ever feared that they may lose their coverage if they become too sick, or lose their job, or change their job.”