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Universal health care savings

A Medicare Services office in New York City

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class="name"Doug Krizner: Advocates of universal health care have medical and moral reasons for extending health insurance to all, but a New England Journal of Medicine study published this morning says it may also make dollars and cents. Jill Barshay reports.


Jill Barshay: The uninsured are part of the reason Medicare costs are rising so high. That's according to a study by a group of researchers at Harvard Medical School.

More and more people who don't have health insurance are waiting until they hit 65 to see the doctor. That way Medicare picks up the tab. Michael McWilliams authored the study.

Michael McWilliams: They required more frequent hospital admissions and doctor visits and reported significantly greater total medical expenditures after gaining coverage than adults who were previously insured.

Older adults with diabetes or heart problems who didn't have insurance ended up costing Medicare 51 percent more than people who were insured before.

McWilliams: Providing insurance to these near-elderly uninsured adults may be more cost effective than we previously thought.

Over the next nine years 3.4 million uninsured adults will join the Medicare system. 57 percent of them have cardio vascular disease and diabetes.

In New York, I'm Jill Barshay for Marketplace.

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