Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Health care reform shorts:
A visual representation of where people need insurance

National Public Radio has put up a nifty web map that enables anyone to create U.S. maps that show roughly what percentage of the people in Congressional districts are currently without health insurance. Here's the map of the whole country; in the darkest districts, more than 20 percent of the population under age 65 is without health insurance.
NPR-all-districts.jpg

The Northeast, the Upper Midwest, and Northern California look better covered than the South and Southwest -- that is, these heavily Democratic areas are already places where most folks have insurance.

Now look at the map of the Republican-held districts:
NPR-republican-districts.jpg
There are some serious pockets where insurance isn't reaching people.

Now let's look at the districts held by Blue Dog Democrats, the Democrats mostly likely to be giving Nancy Pelosi trouble as she tries to round up House votes for health care reform.
NPR-Blue-Dogs.jpg

It's hard not to draw the conclusion that many of the places that most need the combination of subsidies, new insurance markets in the exchanges, and new rules that are in the current bill are precisely those where Congresscritters are going to vote against reform. Curious.

Harold Pollack, who brought this to my attention, concludes:

Americans who have the most to gain from activist government are often the very people most distrustful of such measures. In the short-run, these perceptions may cause problems come November and even come 2012. In the long-run, I believe this is an opportunity. Once health reform embeds itself within the fabric of American life, I'm betting that millions of Red-State Americans will not wish to see it go.

The original NPR maps enable anyone to see the percentages of lack of insurance by district by mousing over particular Congressional districts.

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