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About 45 million Americans have no health insurance
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16:49, July 17, 2007

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An estimated 45 million Americans don''t have health insurance, with most of them in low- to moderate-income families without access to workplace insurance plans, a U.S. think-tank said on Monday.

Providing government subsidies to slash the cost of health insurance for people without coverage would do little to reduce the number of uninsured Americans, the Rand Corporation said in a study, to be published in an upcoming issue of the journal Health Services Research.

The study found that providing government subsidies would reduce the number of uninsured Americans by just 3 percent.

Researchers found that price is only one of several factors that people look at when making the decision of whether or not to purchase insurance.

"A lot of people who don''t have insurance are young and healthy and would rather spend their money on something else," said M. Susan Marquis, senior RAND economist and one of the study''s authors.

"One implication of our findings is that if you really do want to get to universal health insurance coverage, voluntary solutions that rely on financial incentives aren''t going to get you there," Marquis said.

"Government is probably going to have to mandate it," he added.

For people who do decide to buy non-group health insurance, price is an important factor in deciding between insurers, the study found.

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