Universal Coverage Won’t Save Money Here

One of the arguments for universal coverage is that it is cheaper than getting your medical care in the emergency room. That might make sense in the context of the free market, but, as conservatives, we know that once government gets thrown into the mix, market dynamics get warped. Sure enough, according to a Providence Journal report this week, the federal government already spends $101 million on medical care for the some 140,000 Rhode Islanders who are uninsured. And that’s not even counting a chunk of $79 million that comes from state, local, and private sources. The cost of covering everyone here is an additional $138 million in government spending. There’s just one little detail that the story glosses over: what would happen to the $76 million the uninsured already pay for their medical care? If the $138 million estimate is in addition to their contribution, that’s not much of a savings. Or perhaps it didn’t occur to anyone that those uninsured with the means should shoulder some of the costs of their own government-provided health insurance. Such is the genius of the nanny state.


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