Study: Uninsured Americans will account for $125 billion in healthcare in 2004

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The Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured on Monday reported that taxpayers and private entities will pay approximately $125 billion this year to provide healthcare to uninsured U.S. citizens.

The report also estimated the number of Americans without health insurance at 44 million.

Despite the high dollar amount, the Washington, D.C.-based Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation asserted that the United States can afford healthcare for all of its uninsured. Executive director Diane Rowland said that leaving 44 million Americans without health insurance "exacts a substantial price on society, as well as individuals, while covering the uninsured would improve their healthcare without generating large increases in overall health spending."

The report concluded that the United States would have to spend an extra $48 billion - in addition to the $125 billion -- to cover newly uninsured Americans.

The group based its numbers on out-of-pocket expenses incurred by uninsured patients, the hospitals' costs, and insurance payments for any coverage the individuals had during the year.

The study also concluded that each American covered by a healthcare plan will spend about $2,975 on medical bills in 2004.