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Argument: Universal health care lowers long-term health costs

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Supporting evidence

The Case for Universal Health Care. American Medical Student Association. 2005 - "What are the costs of not achieving universal health care? In a landmark six-part series on the uninsured, the Institute of Medicine compiled an extensive report on the 'hidden' costs of uninsurance.8

    • Fewer years of participation in the workforce: The annual cost of diminished health and shorter life spans of Americans without insurance is $65-$130 billion. People who do not live as long do not work and contribute to the economy as long.
    • Developmental losses for children: children who are uninsured are more likely to suffer delays in development because of poor health, thus affecting their future earning capacity.
    • Cost to public programs: Medicare, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), and the criminal justice system have higher costs than they would if there were universal coverage. For Medicare, the reason is that people who are uninsured have poorer health, and this poorer health translates into higher expenses once they become enrolled in Medicare. A similar effect exists for SSDI and the criminal justice system, although to a smaller degree because most people do not end up using these programs whereas the vast majority ultimately enroll in Medicare at age."


"Consequences of Uninsurance". Institute of Medicine. Retrieved 9.26.07. - A link to six major Institute of Medicine reports on the costs of the uninsured, all arguing that these costs are greater than the costs of providing public, universal health care.


"Single-Payer FAQ". Physicians for a National Health Program. Retrieved May 30th, 2008 - "How will we keep costs down if everyone has access to comprehensive health care?

People will seek care earlier when chronic diseases such as hypertension and diabetes are more treatable. We know that both the uninsured and many of those with skimpy private coverage delay care because they are afraid of health care bills. This will be eliminated under such a system. Undoubtedly the costs of taking care of the medical needs of people who are currently skimping on care will cost more money in the short run. However, all of these new costs to cover the uninsured and improve coverage for the insured will be fully offset by administrative savings.

In the long run, the best way to control costs is to improve health planning to assure appropriate investments in expensive, high-tech care, to negotiate fees and budgets with doctors, hospital and drug companies, and to set and enforce a generous but finite overall budget."

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