In another survey, the 2011 National Health Interview Survey, conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, researchers asked, “Which of these are reasons you stopped being covered or don’t have health insurance?’’ Respondents were allowed to choose more than one reason.
In this survey, too, a plurality — 42 percent — cited cost. Three other reasons cited are compatible with cost being an obstacle — a lost job or a change in employment (26 percent), an employer that didn’t offer insurance (11 percent) and ineligible due to age or leaving school (9 percent). Just 6 percent cited “other,” which included “didn’t want or need coverage,” among other answers.
“The cost of insurance is a major reason why people are uninsured — Sen. Paul is right about that,” said Jonathan Oberlander, a health policy professor at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine. “People without access to employer-sponsored coverage have a hard time affording it on their own, and that accounts for most of the uninsured.”
Paul asked, “Why didn’t (uninsured Americans) buy insurance? Because of the expense.” Survey data supports him. A plurality of respondents in major surveys of the uninsured specifically cite cost as a barrier, and relatively few indicate that going uninsured is a voluntary choice.
We rate Paul’s claim True.