Tab for the uninsured keeps rising

Stethoscope lying on money

TEXT OF STORY

Scott Jagow: A study out this morning says the U.S. government would have to pay $123 billion to provide for all the uninsured people in the country. Is that a good investment? Marketplace's Renita Jablonski has more.


Renita Jablonski: Jack Hadley is a professor in the department of health administration policy at George Mason University. He's also the lead author of the study in today's Web edition of Health Affairs, a health policy journal.

Jack Hadley: The main implication is that the longer we wait to expand insurance coverage, the more costly it's going to be.

He says the tab for the uninsured is a lot higher than the last time he did this kind of math back in 2001. That's because there are more uninsured people, they're older, and the cost of health care keeps going up. He says reforming the system now has benefits beyond cost.

Hadley: Greater labor market efficiency, possibly less burden on employers to provide insurance. There's significant national loss that comes from not covering the uninsured.

Hadley says Americans without insurance will spend $30 billion out of pocket this year.

I'm Renita Jablonski for Marketplace.

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