A Gallup poll has documented a startling fact, that one out of every four adult Americans on average are recipients of government health care assistance in some form, whether it is Medicare, Medicaid or military or veterans’ benefits. Considering that the federal government is paralyzed by a shut-down resulting from the Democrats and Republicans being unable to agree on major spending issues, especially government health-care systems, this revelation comes at a very pertinent time.
Not only do a quarter of U.S. adults receive federal aid, but it goes further: across all age groups, at least one in every ten Americans in every adult age demographic benefit from these types of assistance, with senior citizens and younger adults being having the highest likelihood of using government-sponsored health insurance.
The Gallup poll shows increased government spending for federally-funded health care, and a marked decline in insurance provided by employers since the recession began in 2008. From January to March of 2011, almost 26% of Americans responded that they use government-sponsored health insurance of some kind. For the same period of time for 2010 it was almost an identical figure, which was up from 24.6% in 2009.
This information was collected in the course of compiling the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, and it shows that reliance on government help in the area of health insurance has risen in all age groups, not just among senior citizens, as had been previously assumed. This fact indicates that unemployment, not simply the aging of the baby boomer generation, is the cause of increased federal health insurance spending.
Age wasn’t the only factor involved in the increase. Out of all the demographic groups surveyed, the age/ethnicity group which was most likely to used government health care was African-Americans aged 18 to 64, where more than 25% of this grouping responded positively. Also, people with the lowest levels of education and income, which actually overlap in many cases, were most frequently recipients of Medicare, Medicaid or veterans or military health benefits.
9.1% of Americans who earn more than $36,000 per year also indicated that they use government health care benefits, but they are the group least likely to receive this kind of help. Americans with higher levels of education and, usually incidentally, are, generally, the group with the smallest incidence of utilizing federal health care products.
The Republican-led efforts to reduce the budget concentrate on cutting down Medicare and Medicaid spending, although their cuts stand little chance of passing, due to the fact that the Senate and White House are controlled by the Democrats.
The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index is a private think-tank which seeks to provide “best-in-class” solutions for a healthier population, and it monitors American well-being by analysis of trends and studies about health issues.