HealthLawProf Blog

Editor: Katharine Van Tassel
Concordia University School of Law

Friday, March 27, 2009

Cost-Shifting: New Report

The Center for American Progress details the cost of the uninsured in a new report.  The report details the $1100 cost-shifting from the uninsured to the insured under our current health care system.  The report by Ben Furnas and Peter Harbage provides,

America’s patchy health care system is leaving millions of people without continuous,
affordable, and effective health insurance, and we’re all paying the price.

The Center for American Progress has updated a 2005 analysis by Kenneth Thorpe
for Families USA and found that, on average, 8 percent of families’ 2009 health care
premiums—approximately $1,100 a year—is due to our broken system that fails to
cover the uninsured.

The best way to address this burden on health insurance is to create a more efficient system
that offers continuous, quality coverage for all. We can’t afford our broken system any more. . .

Approximately 87 million people—one in three Americans—went without health insurance
for some period during 2007 and 2008,1 while rising unemployment and job losses
caused an estimated 14,000 people to lose their health insurance every day in December
2008 and January 2009 alone.2

Some mistakenly believe that the plight of the uninsured, and America’s failure to provide
continuous quality health insurance for everyone, only affects those who are unable to find
health insurance. But this is wrong.

The uninsured pay more for care—and get less—than those with insurance. But when the
uninsured cannot pay, health care providers shift those costs to those who can pay—those
who have insurance coverage. 3 This leads to higher premiums for those who buy their
insurance on the individual market, as well as workers who get insurance for themselves
and their families through their job.

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