The concept of support for universal health care is taboo among Republicans who scrutinize the Affordable Care Act — dubbing it the “Job-Killing Health Care Law Act” — and call for its repeal. But a new UC Irvine study challenges the GOP argument that the health care law is too costly, with data illustrating that health care costs on the whole fall when poorer, uninsured patients are provided with insurance.
“In a case study involving low-income people enrolled in a community-based health insurance program, we found that use of primary care increased but use of emergency services fell, and — over time — total health care costs declined,” David Neumark, a co-author of the study, said in a release accompanying the findings.
The study — which focused on uninsured people in Richmond, Virginia who fell 200 percent below the poverty line — found that over three years, health care costs fell by almost 50 percent per participant, from $8,899 in the first year to $4,569 in the third after they received insurance. Participants who enrolled in health coverage made fewer trips to the emergency room, which are notorious for running up patient bills. Instead, insured participants went for more primary care visits.