Cutting Emergency Room Use Will Help Pay For Universal Health Care For Those Who Want It
Presently taxpayers have a heavy burden, almost 100 billion dollars, in paying the cost of Emergency Room use by those who have no Health Insurance coverage.
Those who oppose “Universal Health Care” are in many ways, through higher taxes, already paying to subsidize the need of coverage by the uninsured.
Lets take a look at the facts of who the uninsured are according to the National Coalition on Health Care.
Who are Who are the uninsured?
- Nearly 46 million Americans, or 18 percent of the population under the age of 65, were without health insurance in 2007, the latest government data available.
- The number of uninsured rose 2.2 million between 2005 and 2006 and has increased by almost 8 million people since 2000.
- The large majority of the uninsured (80 percent) are native or naturalized citizens.
- The increase in the number of uninsured in 2006 was focused among working age adults. The percentage of working adults (18 to 64) who had no health coverage climbed from 19.7 percent in 2005 to 20.2 percent in 2006. Nearly 1.3 million full-time workers lost their health insurance in 2006.
- Nearly 90 million people – about one-third of the population below the age of 65 spent a portion of either 2006 or 2007 without health coverage.
- Over 8 in 10 uninsured people come from working families – almost 70 percent from families with one or more full-time workers and 11 percent from families with part-time workers.
- The percentage of people (workers and dependents) with employment-based health insurance has dropped from 70 percent in 1987 to 62 percent in 2007. This is the lowest level of employment-based insurance coverage in more than a decade.
- In 2005, nearly 15 percent of employees had no employer-sponsored health coverage available to them, either through their own job or through a family member.
- In 2007, 37 million workers were uninsured because not all businesses offer health benefits, not all workers qualify for coverage and many employees cannot afford their share of the health insurance premium even when coverage is at their fingertips.
- The number of uninsured children in 2007 was 8.1 million – or 10.7 percent of all children in the U.S.
- Young adults (18-to-24 years old) remained the least likely of any age group to have health insurance in 2007 – 28.1 percent of this group did not have health insurance.
- The percentage and the number of uninsured Hispanics increased to 32.1 percent and 15 million in 2007.
- Nearly 40 percent of the uninsured population reside in households that earn $50,000 or more. A growing number of middle-income families cannot afford health insurance payments even when coverage is offered by their employers.
Those who are in a panic at the mere mention of “Universal Health Care” seem to overlook the occurring costs to society by the present system.
What additional costs are created by the uninsured population?
- The United States spends nearly $100 billion per year to provide uninsured residents with health services, often for preventable diseases or diseases that physicians could treat more efficiently with earlier diagnosis.
- Hospitals provide about $34 billion worth of uncompensated care a year.
- Another $37 billion is paid by private and public payers for health services for the uninsured and $26 billion is paid out-of-pocket by those who lack coverage.
- The uninsured are 30 to 50 percent more likely to be hospitalized for an avoidable condition, with the average cost of an avoidable hospital stayed estimated to be about $3,300.
- The increasing reliance of the uninsured on the emergency department has serious economic implications, since the cost of treating patients is higher in the emergency department than in other outpatient clinics and medical practices.
- A study found that 29 percent of people who had health insurance were “underinsured” with coverage so meager they often postponed medical care because of costs. Nearly 50 percent overall, and 43 percent of people with health coverage, said they were “somewhat” to “completely” unprepared to cope with a costly medical emergency over the coming year.
It should be a comfort for those who like their present Insurance Program that it will NOT have to change and they can go about their daily routine with the knowledge, that like the ghost of Jacob Marley in The Christmas Carol, taking care of “…mankind should have been…” our business, plus the fact that by getting everyone covered we will save lives and money.