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04/05/2009 02:16 PM ID: 78045 Permalink   

Nine Uninsured People Cost Tax Payers 3 Million Dollars with 2,700 ER Visits


In Texas, at a cost of 3 million dollars, nine uninsured individuals went to the ER almost 2,700 times between 2003 to 2008. People who are uninsured often go to the ER as they cannot be turned away.

The visits, at a cost of $1,000 per visit, are billed to the tax payers via Medicare and Medicaid. The individuals include five women with the average age of 40 and four men with the average age of 50, most of which have drug abuse problems and mental health issues.

Dr. Christopher Ziebell says it's a "significant issue," with solutions including the individuals to mental health programs or doctors for primary care.

    WebReporter: cray0la Show Calling Card      
ASSESS this news: BLOCK this news. Reason:
  there was not  
much for me to report, the story was short in itself.

but its very telling, and shows the reform we need in our healthcare system, this goes to show you what kind of problems would plague a National Government Run health care system if it was proposed and running.

Mccain proposed some great reform ideas with the current system, with Obama just telling everyone should have healthcare regardless of cost and issue.

well this is one issue caused by just a few people, imagine if this was a NATIONAL STUDY, it would be mind blowing and the amount of people would be staggering, ERs are so expensive FOR THIS REASON, i was told through my works health care NEVER to go to a ER.

go to a more efficient and cost friendly Urgent Care center.

the system is broken, reform is needed and not by a government run system, since when does the government run anything right?

  by: cray0la     04/05/2009 02:22 PM     
the problem is, people w/ no insurance wait until there is an absolute crisis and then show up in the ER. Problems that could have been handled much more cheaply at first end up costing a lot. It's like the old phrase, "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." So I don't see this as evidence that a national healthcare program would be insanely expensive, because most problems would be handled early when they are less expensive to deal with.
  by: gryphon50a   04/05/2009 03:19 PM     
ER are for emergencies only. Unless you've been shot or you suffer from a very serious condition, stay away from ER, you're wasting precious resources.

However, I don't think these 9 idiots are representative of the average usage. 2700 visits in 5 years for 9 persons is pretty much a visit to the ER per week per person. If anything, this just goes to show there will always be people willing to abuse any form of system, no matter what it is. The present system just make sure any people suffering from a life-threatening ailment won't be left to die out of economic concerns.
  by: Ryuken   04/05/2009 07:02 PM     
This story supports having a national, universal health care plan for everyone. It would be cheaper than having the uninsured using the ER. Good find, cray0la, on a story that supports universal health care.
  by: Lurker     04/05/2009 07:46 PM     
  What's Up?  
I know this is not directly related to the story, or maybe it is. But, over 1/3 of US prisoners are mentally ill, and probably 2/3 are drug-addicts, etc.

The US prison system has become the wardens of the 'Unnecessary People' in society.

If we turn this around and give proper insurance to all US citizens, and proper treatment for mentally ill and others in need of help, then we will make a tremendous impact on our country and really progress forward, instead of backwards as we've been doing since Reagan slashed the system back in the 80s.
  by: theironboard     04/05/2009 08:17 PM     
  2700 visit to the ER?????  
Damn i haven't seen a doc in 7 years i just can't understand how someone would want to waste that much time around sick people in an ER,I only go there if I'm SURE i'll die otherwise I stay away from ER as much as possible and just walk it off as you say...
  by: Korzen   04/05/2009 09:40 PM     
  My Question Is...  
Why is it costing $1,000 a visit.
  by: shiftyfarker   04/06/2009 04:32 AM     
They probably would stay in the hospital for years if they had the means to cover such a stay. They are probably elderly with a myriad of health problems.

But I have to say, I totally agree with cray0la on this issue. These people should have just died and saved us all at least a few bucks a year. Heck, I might have wanted to buy a snack that I had to go without because *some* people insisting on living even though they can't afford it!
  by: Ben_Reilly     04/06/2009 05:42 AM     
  well alot of it  
has to do with these people going to the ERs for anything, rather it be upset stomach, headache, or so on, because they would not get turned away.

@lurker, this does not mean we need a national healthcare system, if you read my arguement imagine the costs then, this story shows that if the uninsured are guaranteed coverage they will use it and run up extraordinary costs for things not ER related, and let me also tell you, we basically ALREADY have a government run program for people who cannot afford it and so on, atleast in my state WI, we have gamp coveraged, and the s chip program for "kids" to what 25 yrs of age, and im sure most states have healthcare for people who do not have it at the cost of the tax payer.

im pretty sure at the source their is a story about a person who said his work offered healthcare coverage to its employees, who most were immigrants from all over the place, but no matter what they told them about going to the ER and its costs they still did it, they even gave them doctors that were bi-lingual in there language and they still went to the ER instead of them, and the company had to cancel the coverage because of the costs.

i would go to a urgent care over a ER any day.
  by: cray0la     04/06/2009 06:48 AM     
This is the reason that National healthcare is bad? I'm sorry, but this just shows how bad your current system is!

Only a fraction of these costs would have occurred if you had a working health system.
  by: jendres     04/06/2009 07:12 AM     
You can try and play it as something else, but this is beyond any doubt a pro universal healthcare story. Because these people are uninsured and destitute the only option they have is to go to the ER for any condition at a minimum charge of $1000 a pop. Can we guarantee that with a universal healthcare system people would always choose the most cost effective option? No we can't, but at least there is a chance and since we are going to pay for it anyway I would rather not pay the $1000 a pop rate for s stubbed toe sending someone to the ER because it is their only option.

What I suspect you are trying subtly to argue for is allowing hospital ERs to refuse to treat people who can't pay. This would violate all kinds of ethical guidelines to begin with, never mind the fact that the first time someone asking for treatment at an ER died as a result of not getting it any family they happened to have wouldn't have to worry about costs of healthcare anymoe since they would pretty much own the hospital after the inevitable, and in this case I would say justified, lawsuit.
  by: gtg833b     04/06/2009 12:03 PM     
  It's cheaper just to die.  
The current medical setup here is a prime example of how a free market economy has failed us.

If I'm ever dragged into an ER for some random reason and I'm conscious, I'll demand they do nothing for me.

Healthcare is such a premium. Ya I may have a wrong and skewed image of it, but it seems radically "unfair" no matter how "fair" it currently is accepted as.
  by: LykosSN4   04/06/2009 04:29 PM     
  I'm uninsured...  
...because my work doesn't offer it for a reasonable price and I can't afford to take that much of a chunk out of my pay. If I go to the ER, I have a bill, and chances are I can't pay that much, so consequentially there have been times when I should have had medical attention and did not seek it.
So somebody please tell me, what exactly is wrong with a civilized society where people take care of each other? We already all pay for education, police, firefighters, social workers, military, roads, etc, etc. What is so hard to understand about socialized healthcare?
  by: captainchainsaw   04/06/2009 10:41 PM     
  Appeal to Sensasionalism  
Looks like someone got the worst 9 cases and decided to make a point. To get guys like crayola all riled up.

But it is okay Crayola, we have a universal health care system in canada and we spend 4000$ per canadian per year. In the States u gys spend 9000$ per person per year and your system still sucks.

Now if you do not mind, I have my regular yearly medical check to go prepare for.
  by: kmazzawi     04/06/2009 10:50 PM     
  I'm willing to bet  
most of the visits by drug addicts in this case were due to some "severe pain" that required "something stronger than advil." A common tactic to get a narcotic pain killer. Hence the 1 visit per week.
  by: barryman9001   04/07/2009 12:50 AM     
My stub toe cost 1200 bucks,, I sliced my little toe on bath tub stop, I had to get 2 stitches, The hospital sent me the itemize bill by mistake, they charge 100 bucks for the 20 oz sterile water that they 1/4 on my toe. It doesn't surprise me of the ER bill. How Much of it is OVER CHARGE..
  by: thedrewman   04/07/2009 07:10 PM     
  @ all  
I work very closely with hospital ER's in SE VA and I see a LOT of this behavior. 99% of the time it is a drug addict and/or homeless person that (may/may not have a justifiable illness to be in the ER) really justs wants a warm place to sleep for a few hours or a free meal or for medication to help them deal with withdrawal. These people get to abuse the system because the system is set up to allow this abuse.
  by: snowztorm29     04/08/2009 05:39 PM     
  The People That Ran The Bill Up  
Needed mental care that they did not have access to because of a lack funding.
To use 9 people as a sample of what is wrong with a system is ridiculous. I would go further to explain why but I will leave it this and let those that don't understand it ponder it.

Is that health care system in need of repair? I think so ,and the answer is universal health care. In one of the greatest nations in the world the concept of Hundreds of Billions for a falsely sold war while our citizens try to choose between medicine and food is ludicrous.
  by: ichi     04/08/2009 06:15 PM     
  The Answer is Nationalized Health Care  
Only because we where set up to fail by Nixon. Imagine if insurance was not mandatory, & hospitals or family health clinics would try and help you & help you cover the cost while keeping their prices low to keep up competition.

Don't get me wrong, Nixon was watching out for the poor people apparently, but from looking back all the way to now it looks like we have been set up to be nationalized. So America needs to stop standing on the fence. The people have been fooled into not being responsible for themselves & now need to gov. to bail them out.

The problem (or solution as it was back then) was small, & now we are still beating our heads against the wall expecting a different result is not at all sane. So screw it, force everyone to pay for everyone so these few people who do abuse the system can make it be felt on everyone, for that is whats going to happen anyways.

Socialism FTMFW
  by: Vhan     04/09/2009 12:21 AM     
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