The Uninsured Versus The Insured: Who Subsidizes Whom?

This article by John Graham at PRI provides a different look at the data on insured and uninsured health care. The key points:

–California Governor Schwarzenegger, Massachusetts Governor Patrick, and other state politicians believe — wrongly — that “covering the uninsured” will eliminate a “hidden tax” that the privately insured pay to subsidize the uninsured. –The financial crisis of hospital emergency rooms has little to do with the uninsured; rather, there is a far greater “cost shift” from beneficiaries of government health care to the privately insured. –As a group, the uninsured voluntarily pay about $60 billion worth of extra federal income taxes — explicit taxes which dwarf the hidden tax of uninsurance. –Because they use only half the health services, per person, that insured Americans use, the uninsured pay a kind of “hidden subsidy” to the insured, who over-consume health services. — The hidden tax of overinsurance — which the insured unconsciously levy on each other, is far greater than the relatively insignificant hidden tax of uninsurance.