Grassroot Perspective – Feb. 5, 2003-Does Health Insurance Determine One’s Health?; Simple Care Growing in Washington State; When Proselytizing Goes Too Far

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”Shoots (News, Views and Quotes)”


– Does Health Insurance Determine One’s Health?

It is frequently said that the uninsured have less access to health care and worse health outcomes. However, there is evidence that poverty and lack of education may be a cause of both poor health and non-insurance. If that is true, increasing the access of the poor to health insurance may not improve their health as much as some hope it would.

For example, a recent survey of the United States and four other
English-speaking countries perceived to have some version of “universal” health insurance found that many more people with below-average incomes report poor health than do higher-income people.

In the United States, for example, 37 percent of below-average-income adults said they were in fair or poor health, while only 9 percent of above-average-income people said the same. By comparison, in the United Kingdom the ratio of low income to higher
income adults reporting themselves in fair or poor health was 31 percent to 10 percent. If insurance were the primary factor in determining health status, these income disparities should disappear in countries with universal health care — but they don’t.

Similarly, within the United States, people on Medicaid are both low
income and well insured; yet Medicaid recipients appear to do about as badly or worse than the uninsured in receiving health care services or maintaining good health. And among Medicare enrollees, who are covered by the same insurance program regardless of their incomes, those with low incomes are twice as likely to report poor health as those with higher incomes. Studies have also found a strong correlation between poor education and poor health for most conditions.

The fact is that people with low incomes and limited education have
worse health than the rest of the population.

Source: Greg Scandlen (senior fellow in health policy), “Health
Insurance: How Much Does It Matter?” Brief Analysis No. 416, Aug. 21, 2002, National Center for Policy Analysis.

For more on Health Policy And The Uninsured, see:>

– Simple Care Growing in Washington State

SimpleCare keeps growing to meet the demand of both patients and
physicians, according to an article in The
article profiles a 42-member physicians’ group that is joining the
SimpleCare network to, “help offset managed care and Medicare
underpayments.” Dr. John Weaver says he loses three dollars for every routine office visit when seeing insured patients, due to cumbersome paperwork and overhead expenses. Under SimpleCare, he can charge patients less and still make more money because of the reduced overhead. One uninsured patient is quoted as saying, “It’s less than the cost of a plumber. It’s more than fair and I couldn’t be happier about it.” The article adds that the challenges is, “to get lawmakers to allow families and businesses the chance to build Medical savings Accounts to allow them to pool money for these kinds of service.”

Source: April 22, 2002

”Roots (Food for Thought)”

– When Proselytizing Goes Too Far

Author: James M. Taylor, Managing Editor

Published: The Heartland Institute 02/01/2002

The other day I decided to take my two daughters, ages one and three, on a nature walk. My girls love animals, and I truly enjoy communing with nature.

On this occasion, rather than visiting my favorite Florida state park,
we went on a more structured nature walk. The walk is designed with children in mind, with a guide leading small groups of visitors along a trail of various natural mini-environments interspersed with various hands-on animal stations. The walk is very popular with elementary school field trips, and I trusted my daughters would be similarly excited to see the many plants and animals that make up our environment.

My daughters were fascinated by all the plants and animals. Equally
blessed with my daughters’ attention was our guide, a young woman who clearly loved nature and who was very happy to share her nature walk with young children.

As our guide pointed out the various plants, turtles, raccoons,
armadillos, waterfowl, alligators, and just about everything else that
makes its home in Florida, my daughters hung on her every word in
unmistakable hero-worship. Truly, I told myself, I chose well to bring my daughters here.

Welcome back to the real world

About midway through our walk, however, I was jolted back into the world of political reality.

While pointing out some mangrove trees, our guide made a truly startling statement. “The reason why we are having a drought in Florida is because too many people have cut down trees to build houses,” she said with a straight face. She then gave a sanctimonious speech about how trees “put water into the air at night,” and this can’t happen anymore now that man is cutting down all the trees.

Forget the glaring scientific fiction of our guide’s drought rationale.
Her argument had clear logical flaws, even if she was ignorant of the

Although central Florida has suffered drought conditions during much of the past few years, 2001 was a year of normal rainfall. Did the trees suddenly detach themselves from peoples’ homes and replant themselves that January?

Moreover, the drought conditions of the past few years were preceded by an extended period of above-average rainfall. How could we have had such longstanding, above-average rainfall if clearing land for houses prevents rain from falling? Surely, only a small percentage of the state’s homes were built after 1997.

As I pondered whether to ask our guide about such obvious logical flaws in her enviro-political assertions, she floored me with another one.

“Worst thing that ever happened”

“The worst thing that ever happened to Florida was the invention of
pesticides and air conditioning. Now people enjoy living here.”

“Of course,” I sarcastically thought to myself, “Florida was such a
veritable paradise when malaria ravaged all who came here.”

As I watched my girls hanging on our guide’s every word, it saddened me very much that they will be taught people are the worst thing to ever happen. People are a part of nature, not nature’s opponent.

Eliminating malaria, maintaining homes at something less than 95 degrees and 95 percent humidity, and putting at least a reasonable check on Florida’s frog-sized cockroaches aren’t the worst things to ever happen to Florida. Florida is still primarily in its natural state, and even its few major cities harbor uncountable alligators, wetlands, and native species of wildlife. People and nature can and do coexist.

I recalled how a similar occurrence affected a good friend of mine.

A free-market environmentalist for a Washington, DC think tank, my
friend has a child who is the primary focus of his life. One day, the
7-year-old boy came home from school, handed his father a
hand-written note telling him that he was ashamed to have him for a
father, and then ran to his bedroom in tears.

As it turned out, his teacher at school had been preaching the same
anti-people, anti-free market principles espoused by the guide at my
local nature walk. When the teacher learned who the child’s father was, she told him it was people like his father who were ruining the world. She then assisted the child in voicing his newfound shame and anger in the form of his hand-written note.

Although I can exercise personal discretion over where I take my
children on nature walks, I have little-to-no discretion over my
children’s public schools.

Will I someday have my daughter come home from school and tell me how ashamed she is to have me as a father? Is it really desirable for elementary school teachers to preach personal politics rather than objective knowledge and moral (rather than political) values?

Is it any wonder so many parents choose to forego free public education and either homeschool their children or send them to expensive private schools?

”Evergreen (Today’s Quotes)”

“The great ideological divide is between those who believe that theories should be adjusted to reality and those who believe that reality must be adjusted to fit their theories. Many of the horrors of the 20th century were created by the latter. And such people are still with us, in many movements.” — Thomas Sowell, Syndicated Columnist

“Everything that is really great and enterprising is created by the
individual who can labor in freedom.” — Albert Einstein

“To compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves is sinful and tyrannical.” — Thomas Jefferson

“Not by force of arms are civilizations held together, but by subtle
threads of moral and intellectual principle.” — Russell Kirk

al principle.” — Russell Kirk
”’See Web site”’ ”’for further information. Join its efforts at “Nurturing the rights and responsibilities of the individual in a civil society. …” or email or call Grassroot of Hawaii Institute President Richard O. Rowland at or (808) 487-4959.”’