Next on N.J. agenda: universal health care Wednesday, January 24, 2007
By JAMES AHEARN RECORD COLUMNIST
We read this guest editorial by James Ahearn, the former managing editor of the Bergen record with interest. His case for universal heath care is important especially his comment about its impact on the homeless.
The following is an excerpt. To read the full article click here.
Homeless people and uninsured immigrants, legal and illegal, would be treated in a statewide network of clinics. The plan would cost $1.7 billion in the first year of operation. However, Vitale says, that bill would be reduced by premiums paid. Also, hospital expenses for charity care would be reduced, so compensatory state reimbursement to the hospitals would decline.
But, no question, the initial impact on the state budget, already deep in the red, would be substantial. To do nothing, however, would also be costly.
Without change, people will continue to go to hospital emergency rooms for routine treatment. Vitale argues, “We have spent nearly $8 billion on charity care in recent years, and what do we have to show for it? We have more uninsured, people who are sicker, hospitals that are in trouble, and a system that is spinning out of control.” Good argument.