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Monday, February 11, 2008

The "Cost of the Uninsured"

Many proposals for "universal health care", including RendellCare, claim that there will be savings by eliminating what everyone pays on "costs for the uninsured", or uncompensated care.
But a new study of medical care in California, summarized by Greg Scandlen, found that the uninsured paid nearly as much as the fully insured for health care services - and more than Medicare and Medicaid recipients.

First it finds that the uninsured consume a mere 5.5% of all hospital care – far below their representation in the population (about 20% in California). Next it found that in 2001 the uninsured (self-pay) patients paid 39% of the list charges. Commercially insured patients paid 41%, Medicare patients paid 35%, and MediCal patients paid 30%. By 2005, the uninsured were still paying far more than Medicare and MediCal, but 14% less than privately covered. In fact, in 2001 the uninsured paid 18% more than Medicare, but 20% more in 2005. ...

Rather than being a drain on California’s health care system, the uninsured are actually subsidizing the state’s MediCal program.

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