Should you trust the Colorado Trust? Its CEO, Dr. Ned Cologne, repeats a common health care falsehood: that the cost-shift from the uninsured’s outstanding medical bills justifies (Nov. 19). While the cost-shift increases premiums, the amount is small compared to cost-shifting from mandatory insurance and .
Key findings include that “the uninsured pay for about half of their care out-of-pocket” while only “20 percent is uncompensated care from providers.” An Urban Institute study provides further evidence that uninsured cost-shifting is small — at most “only 1.7% of private insurance premiums.”
By outlawing affordable plans, mandatory insurance increases premiums by much more. Consider the federal health control bill, study.. It requires that all plans include at least ten , such as maternity care and substance abuse treatment, whether you want them or not. A typical mandated benefit increases premiums by about 0.75%, concludes a 2008 MIT
By underpaying doctors, Medicaid is also guilty of large cost-shifting. But Dr. Cologne withholds this information when noting that HR 3590 expands Medicaid eligibility. A Milliman actuarial study concluded that the cost-shift from Medicaid and adds $1788 to the annual insurance premium for a family of four. The uninsured pay more of their medical bills than Medicaid does for its participants, reported Reuters in 2008. What’s more, a CDC study found that people “with Medicaid coverage were more likely to have had multiple visits to [emergency departments] … than those with private insurance and the uninsured.”
Dr. Cologne wants to “promote an honest debate” about health care. But the cost-shift argument for mandatory insurance has no place in one.
This letter to the editor was published in the Northern Colorado Business Report on December 3, 2010.
This is a shorter version of my article, Amendment 63 vs. Cost-Shift Hypocrisy, published in the Huffington Post.