Wednesday, September 23, 2009

One reason medical care is so expensive: We All pay a Hidden Tax

Those of us who currently have private health insurance pay a "hidden tax", included in our premiums, to pay for costs incurred by those without coverage. A new study now calculates that cost to be $1,017.00 per family in 2008, which is in addition to the actual taxes paid to support Medicaid and other government programs.

In 2008, the uninsured received $116 billion worth of care from hospitals, doctors, and other providers, which was usually provided for emergencies that could no longer be ignored. Those costs had to be paid for somehow, and they were covered in the following ways:
  • On average, the uninsured themselves paid for more 37 percent of the total costs of the care they received.
  • Government programs and charities, paid for another 26 percent of that care.
  • The rest, approximately $42.7 billion in 2008, was unpaid (So called "uncompensated care").
To cover the rest of this "uncompensated care", the cost was shifted to private insurers by charging more for health services. These charges then result in the higher premiums we all pay. In 2008 the extra charge for family health care coverage was $1,017.00 and for a single person was $368.00.

The next time you here someone bemoan "increased taxes" to pay for health care reform, remember the truth. We need to get rid of the tax we already bear, and substitute a planned system that actually gets people in for needed care before things fall apart, thereby saving us all money.

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