Report: Unisured cost insured

Whether you like it or not, you’re still paying for the uninsured. Always there to demonize the poor and uninsured, the Republicans like to ask why they should ever pay for anyone else other than themselves. (Less so when it’s to fund their wars of convenience or other pet projects.) Just because the Republicans want to ignore the issue, it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist or will just go away.

The average family with health insurance shells out an extra $1,000 a year in premiums to pay for health care for the uninsured, a new report finds.

And the average individual with private coverage pays an extra $370 a year because of the cost-shifting, which happens when someone without medical insurance gets care at an emergency room or elsewhere and then doesn’t pay.

The report was being released Thursday by advocacy group Families USA, which said the findings — which it calls a “hidden tax” — support its goal of extending coverage to all the 50 million Americans who are now uninsured. Congress and the Obama administration are working on a plan to do that.

As John has said on a number of occasions, the Democrats would be making a mistake though to limit changes to only the 50 million uninsured. The US system for the bulk of Americans is a disaster. It’s expensive and it’s complicated. If money is no object, sure, the US health care system is great but not everyone is in that position. The argument against national health care plans that let faceless bureaucrats decide on coverage and your doctor is nonsense. Besides that already being the case with private health insurance in the US, that is definitely not the way it works everywhere, certainly not in France.

Whether Obama and the Democrats have the stomach for a fight – and it will be a big one against big money – that remains to be seen. I’ve yet to see any sign of a willingness to take on such a battle but maybe they’re saving themselves for this one. Doubtful, but maybe.


An American in Paris, France. BA in History & Political Science from Ohio State. Provided consulting services to US software startups, launching new business overseas that have both IPO’d and sold to well-known global software companies. Currently launching a new cloud-based startup. Full bio here.

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9 Responses to “Report: Unisured cost insured”

  1. Susan says:

    Who are these people that aren’t paying? I don’t have health insurance and went to the emergency room a few months ago. It costs over $500 but the hospital is making sure I pay every penny. And not only that, but because I don’t have insurance I am paying more than someone with insurance would pay. Sounds like another way for insurance companies and hosptials to get more money and suck what’s left of the life right out of us.

  2. Tyke says:

    One thing left out of this analysis is that the uninsured pay 4 to 10 times more for the same medical services as the insurance companies do. The son of a friend recently was between jobs and had to pay for day surgery out of pocket. He had similar work done a few months earlier (actually less serious) and compared the two sets of bills. He was charged many,many times more as an uninsured individual than his insurance company would have been. The hospital folks told him this is how it always happens.

    So if the uninsured are being charged 400% more and are paying at least 37% of that inflated bill out of pocket – looking at actual net payments made, they are subsidizing the insured, not the other way around!

  3. damfino1920 says:

    Health care has been my main concern since Obama got into office and I hope he follows through and doesn’t backtrack like he has on other issues so far. I’ve only been uninsured for a little less than a year and just try to take care of myself the best I can. I don’t cross streets unless the pedestrian light is on, etc. Stupid small things, but it’s what I can do to avoid a trip to the doctor’s office or ER.

    But… it SHOULDN’T be that way. I’m *waiting* for the U.S. to catch up with the rest of the industrialized world in terms of actually caring about its citizens.

  4. Mary says:

    I believe this issue is going to make or break Obama. If he doesn’t come thru on his promise on this issue he is in big trouble. Someone must tackle the big insurance companies and I am hoping its Obama.

    We where just informed that our insurance is changing big time July 1st. We are going with all deductibles and no one is going to be able to afford to go for treatment. Its scary times in this country and I for one am really scared.

  5. bob_h says:

    In Europe, those insurance companies participating in their healthcare schemes have administrative expenses of about 5%. How do we tolerate our administrative expenses of 15-20%? Will someone even ask?

  6. timncguy says:

    When you watch the dems like Chick Schumer “gutting” the public option from the health care reform debate, even IF we get everyone insured, just how much of this excess cost do you think will be given back to those currently paying the extra to cover the uninsured. Isn’t it much more likely that the “for profit” insurance agency will just add it to their bottom lines for their investors?

    One of the easiest way to cut costs out of healthcare would be to REMOVE the profit from the insurance companies with a single payer system. That profit doesn’t benefit anyone. It just adds to the cost. Knowing that we won’t actually get to a single payer system, the second best plan is to include a public option CHOICE similar to medicare. This would force the insurance companies to cut costs in order to compete with the public option. And, if they don’t, more and more people would choose the public option and eventually we would move closer and closer to a single payer system.

    But, Chuck Schumer is actively “compromising” all the potential cost savings out of the public option at the behest of the big money lobbying insterests of the insurance companies and out of fear of republicans.

    When will the dems ever wake up and realize they have the majorities and the power to do what is right whether any repugs come along for the ride or not?

  7. Indigo says:

    Doubtful, indeed.

  8. Apphouse50 says:

    This is exactly why they need to put numbers people can understand to this whole issue. The hysterics who throw their hands up in the air and act as if those who pay now will pay double or more with that darned “socialized medicine” they’re always screeching about either don’t know or pretend not to know that we’re paying anyway. What do they think Medicaid is? Manna from heaven?

    Right now a lot of people who still have insurance, mostly because they’re still employed and empathy is just a word to them, buy into the “we have the best healthcare in the world” nonsense, and think change means crucifying them financially. And they aren’t usually voracious readers of newspapers (or blogs), and the level of debate they’re willing to engage in is at the level of headlines via Faux, CNN and MSNBC. It will be a challenge to get the numbers clear in their minds or their “representatives” aren’t gonna feel the heat.

  9. dula says:

    Centrists fear change.

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