Medicaid and Self Pay
The government's Medicaid program for the poor may put more financial burden on overcrowded hospital emergency rooms than the nation's 47 million uninsured, according to a study published on Thursday.
Researchers at the University of California San Francisco and Stanford University found that the uninsured patients paid 35 percent of their overall emergency room bills in 2004, versus 33 percent for Medicaid.
"What surprised us was that uninsured patients actually pay a higher proportion of their emergency department charges than Medicaid does," said Renee Hsia, an emergency room doctor and researcher at UCSF who led the study.
"This runs counter to the widespread impression that the uninsured are universally poor payers," said Hsia, who noted that the ranks of uninsured include healthy young people who are employed full-time.