*Editor’s Note: This opinion is in response to an article titled “Medicaid expansion: A tough pill to swallow?” published in the Tuesday, Oct. 1 Lake Sun.
Kudos to your staff for publishing a well-researched and referenced article about Medicaid expansion in our state. The unbiased, well documented research your article describes shows the real facts of Medicaid expansion. Not only will it be much more cost effective than the current system, it will give the people who need it most access to medical and mental health care. Your article points out the hidden tax everyone with private health insurance pays for those without insurance. This cost shift is calculated by a study by Families USA. In 2008 the cost for uncompensated care for those with private and employer sponsored insurance was $1,017 per family or $368 per person.
You can see this yourself at http://www.familiesusa.org/resources/newsroom/press-releases/2009-press-releases/hidden-health-tax-for.html.
Until Medicaid is expanded, hospitals — often the largest employers in rural areas — will lose money, and perhaps ultimately will have to close their doors. At the very least, there will be lay-offs. This will have a big negative impact on the quality of life for all of us. Also, those of us who do have private health insurance will continue to pay an extra $300-$1,000 a year in our premiums for uninsured care. This is simply a hidden tax. Please contact your representatives to vote for Medicaid expansion to save lives, to save our hospitals, and to save money for all of us.