I'll be insured for Christmas

What state has the highest rate of people who are uninsured?

Uninsured Rate by State[Source: U.S. Census Bureau]
  1. How accurate was your crummy prediction?

  2. What geographical patterns or trends do you see in the map above?

  3. How do you explain that pattern or trend?

  4. What is one consequence of this pattern?

  5. Make a connection between the data in the map and the concept of federalism.

  6. If we had a unitary system of government in the United States, how many colors would we have on this map?

  7. Make a claim about whether having a unitary system instead of a federal one would be a good or a bad thing:

  8. 8.8% of Americans are uninsured, a historic low. What claim would an American liberal make about this information?

  9. What claim would an American conservative make about this?

  10. What claim would someone who supported the idea of universal health coverage (a system where every person in the country has access to health care - for example: Canada, Sweden, or Spain, Germany, Denmark, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, Australia, Italy, Finland, Portugal, Austria, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Norway - just to name a few) make about the American system.

  11. Texas has the highest rate of uninsured people of any American state. Explain why you think that is. (For example, did the people of Texas demanded from their legislatures that their state have a super-high rate of uninsured people? Is health care more expensive in Texas? Do people in Texas just not want insurance?)

  12. One way to decrease the number of uninsured citizens of each state is for each state to pass Medicaid expansion (right now, states only have to pay 10% of the cost of Medicaid expansion - the federal government pays the rest). 37 states have expanded Medicaid and lowered the rate of uninsured people in their state (here’s a great explanation of all the health and economic benefits of Medicaid expansion) 14 have not. Why do you think some states have decided to lower their rate of uninsured while others have not?

  13. Looking at the map of the states who have expanded Medicaid, what patterns do you see in the data and how do those patterns connect to what you know about the political ideology and party affiliation by state?*

  14. They say that federalism allows people to “vote with their feet.” If you lived in Colorado (which thanks to their Medicaid expansion has a very low rate of uninsured people) versus next-door-neighbor Wyoming (which thanks to their refusal to expand Medicaid) has more than double the rate of uninsured people, explain how likely you would be to move?

Visual Extension*

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Learning Extension

Check out this interactive map from the Kaiser Family Foundation about insurance rates in each state.

Action Extension

Contact a member of your state legislature and ask them if they voted to expand Medicaid. Let them know whether you believe your state should expand Medicaid or not.

Therapy Animals in Airplanes Extension

This is totally real!

This is totally real!