Yesterday I listed the top ten reasons some folks don’t like/hate/abhor/denigrate/snipe at universal coverage (that’s requiring everyone to have health insurance).
The rest of this week will be devoted to addressing the ‘UC is bad” arguments.
Covering the uninsured will cost about a hundred billion dollars.
And away we go!
Reason One is ‘We can’t afford it.’
There are two responses to this argument. First, it’s not a question of affordability, it is a question of priorities. As noted here earlier, our leaders chose to invade another country, a choice that has required funding several times higher than the cost of covering the currently-uninsured. So we’ve got the bucks. We just choose to spend them on other things, or to not spend them at all (by lowering taxes or socking away revenues for a rainy day).
But we really don’t have to spend much more than we are today. We’re already paying for health care for the uninsured. Cost-shifting ensures that a portion of the costs of treating the uninsured ends up on the bills of those who have insurance. Federal law requires hospitals to treat everyone, regardless of insurance status, who presents with an emergent health situation.
I would argue that this is really a system of hidden taxes that drives up costs for employers and providers, while providing poor care and thus a lousy return on that investment.
So the net is we are already paying for health care for the uninsured, and any additional funding is a matter of choice, not possibility.