Free health care cuts costs

Alon Levy on the news that many US hospitals are saving money by offering free primary care to uninsured patients:
Hospitals in the United States find it cheaper to treat the uninsured for free. By law they’re obligated not to turn away people with life-threatening conditions even if they can’t pay; therefore, uninsured Americans often undergo expensive life-saving treatments that would’ve been prevented if they’d undergone cheaper preventive treatments earlier.
Hospitals have finally figured out the obvious: It's cheaper to give patients inexpensive preventative care rather than writing off hundreds of thousands of dollars of emergency care for these patients later.

Of course, those unpaid bills don't just evaporate under the current system. Someone has to eat those costs. Sometimes the hospital, sometimes the taxpayer. Either way those wasted expenses are passed on to society at large, driving up the cost of health care for everyone.

Boo Man of the Booman Tribune takes the logic one step further. Why not use tax dollars to provide everyone with basic medical care, instead of trying to fund expensive interventions later? You know, why not universal health care?:
Seriously, we need universal health care with a basic affordable package available for everyone, and bells and whistles available at additional cost. It's the only moral thing to do and it will be a lot cheaper, too.
Makes sense to me.

[Abstract Nonsense, Booman Tribune]

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