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Who Are the 45 Million Uninsured?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009 at 02:09 PM EDT

“Of people currently classified as uninsured, a conservative estimate says about 45 percent of them would be able to get health insurance right now if they wanted it,” says economist Glen Whitman.

Health care reform is all the rage in Washington these days, and the most significant focus is on the 45 million uninsured in America. But how many of those 45 million could actually afford health insurance — that is, if they thought it was a priority or found it to be a necessity? has a great video on this very issue, and how the sob stories we hear on the campaign are usually the exception rather than rule regarding the typical American without insurance.

As a twenty-something who has been living the past 7 months with nearly 70 percent of my income going toward rent, I’ve had to learn to cut costs — drastically. Luckily/thankfully my job offers health care benefits.

Could I have said no and had less taken out of my paycheck? Sure, but after having to go to the doctor twice in the past 7 months, it would have ended up costing me a lot more than what I pay to have insurance. For many single young people, a lot of times we just choose not to have insurance.

But it looks like the silver lining in this recession is that Americans are learning to live a simpler life.