US Spending between $65 billion and $130 billion every year...

  1. Toll of Health Insurance Gap Detailed
    Inadequate Care Costs Billions, Study Finds



    By Rob Stein
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Wednesday, June 18, 2003; Page A07
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...2003Jun17.html

    Allowing millions of Americans to live without health insurance costs the nation between $65 billion and $130 billion every year, according to a report released yesterday.

    That is because many of the uninsured receive inadequate medical care, which translates into a poorer quality of life and a shorter lifespan, concluded an expert panel assembled by the National Academy of Sciences' Institute of Medicine. The 22-member panel was asked to calculate the "hidden" costs of leaving an estimated 41 million Americans uninsured.

    For the report, entitled "Hidden Costs, Value Lost," the fifth in a series of six by the institute on the impact of the medical insurance gap, the committee used the same approach that federal agencies use to determine whether the benefits of taking steps to reduce a risk or harm justify the costs to society of implementing those measures.

    Each uninsured person loses the equivalent of between $1,645 and $3,280 annually in lost wages and benefits and in the value of what would be a better quality of life and a longer lifespan if the person were insured, the panel concluded.

    Previous estimates of the economic impact focused mostly on the costs of free or discounted health care that society provides to people without health insurance.

    The new estimate does not include the cost of the medical care itself, which runs between $34 billion and $69 billion annually, or whatever it would cost to create a program to provide insurance coverage for all Americans.

    "Providing health care coverage to those who lack it is likely to be a cost-effective strategy that pays not only in lives saved and better health, but also in economic dividends," said Arthur Kellerman, a professor and chairman of emergency medicine at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, who co-chaired the panel.

    The institute's last report on the uninsured, released in May 2002, estimated that the lack of health insurance led to delayed diagnoses, life-threatening complications and, ultimately, 18,000 premature deaths each year.

    The next and final report will identify strategies for addressing the problem.


    2003 The Washington Post Company
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  2. 1 Comments

  3. by   fergus51
    "Providing health care coverage to those who lack it is likely to be a cost-effective strategy that pays not only in lives saved and better health, but also in economic dividends," said Arthur Kellerman, a professor and chairman of emergency medicine at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, who co-chaired the panel.

    Would just like to see that part repeated, and I would underline it if I wasn't so computer illiterate!!!! I am tired of being called a bleeding heart when I say universal health care insurance should be a priority in America. Take away the emotional arguments in favor of that and you still have the very practical ones: like it will BE MORE COST EFFECTIVE!!!

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