We all know health care coverage in the United States is a dire issue — especially since most health insurance is workplace-based and people who have lost jobs have few options to affordable and portable coverage. But as Heritage analyst Robert Moffit recently noted, it’s important to understand the real numbers of the uninsured.

Families USA, a liberal health advocacy group in Washington, recently commissioned the Lewin Group to analyze data from the U.S. Census Bureau to determine how many Americans were uninsured for an unspecified time within the time frame of 2007 through 2008. Families USA then used the numbers to claim that Census Bureau was underestimating the number of uninsured. Responding to Families USA claims, Moffit told the Des Moines Register: “The number of people who are persistently or chronically uninsured is relatively small.”

Moffit said many people lose insurance temporarily while they change jobs, but quickly regain it. That pattern has increased over time, as people began switching employers more frequently, he said.

The solution to this issue is to make the health insurance market more stable by changing tax laws to encourage Americans to buy their own insurance. Moffit explains in MedCity News:

Let’s tie health insurance to the person rather than the job … Rather than push for a nationalized health system or even a public health insurance plan that could crowd out the private insurance market, Americans should have the opportunity to own and control their health insurance.