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Making Health Insurance More Accessible
Posted By Thomas Capone On May 13, 2011 @ 6:00 pm In Obamacare | Comments Disabled
On Tuesday, May 10, 2011, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released a report  on the uninsured population and their ability to pay their hospital bills. One of the more interesting takeaways from the report is that if you add up all the savings of the uninsured with incomes over 400 percent of the federal poverty level (or about $88,000 for a family of four), it will cover about 37 percent of their total hospital bills.
How do the uninsured get away with not having the assets to pay their bills? Well, the average uninsured person only pays for about a quarter of their total health care costs. Taxpayers end up covering about 75 percent of the unpaid tab through direct payment and extra disproportionate share hospital (DSH) payments made by Medicaid and Medicare, while those with private insurance, hospitals, and charities pick up the rest.
Some analysts will want to use this as an argument for why the individual mandate in Obamacare that requires people to have health insurance is necessary. However, Obamacare will only make the problem worse by loading insurance premiums with mandated coverage and thus driving up the price of insurance. People need the option to buy inexpensive health insurance that is actual insurance against low probability, but high cost medical care.
In addition, there are steps that can be taken to encourage people to buy insurance:
It is clear that Obamacare will only make insurance more unaffordable for those already uninsured. There are steps, however, that Congress can take the help the uninsured by first repealing Obamacare and replacing it with the proposals outlined in Heritage’s plan for “Saving the American Dream.” 
Thomas Capone is currently a member of the Young Leaders Program at the Heritage Foundation. Click here for more information on interning at Heritage. 
Article printed from The Foundry: Conservative Policy News from The Heritage Foundation: http://blog.heritage.org
URL to article: http://blog.heritage.org/2011/05/13/making-health-insurance-more-accessible/
URLs in this post:
 a report: http://aspe.hhs.gov/health/reports/2011/ValueofInsurance/rb.shtml
 analysis: http://keithhennessey.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/state-mandates-memo.pdf
 a study: http://mhcc.maryland.gov/health_insurance/mandated_1207.pdf
 “Saving the American Dream.”: http://www.heritage.org/Research/Reports/2011/05/Saving-the-American-Dream-The-Heritage-Plan-to-Fix-the-Debt-Cut-Spending-and-Restore-Prosperity
 Click here for more information on interning at Heritage.: http://www.heritage.org/about/departments/ylp.cfm
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