The public is paying hundreds of millions of dollars in hospital costs for gunshot victims who lack private insurance, according to a new study issued Tuesday.
The study, which focused on six states, also found that uninsured gunshot victims are more likely to die from their wounds at the hospital than victims with insurance.
According to the Urban Institute study, in 2010 the public footed at least 64.8 percent—and as much as 85 percent—of the hospital costs for treating firearms assault injuries in Arizona, California, Maryland, New Jersey, North Carolina and Wisconsin.
In California, for example, the public picked up the tab for $56.6 million of the total hospital costs. Nationally, $487.8 million, or almost 73 percent of the total hospital costs, were paid for by the public, the study said.
The public's share of those costs comes from government-run insurance programs, such as Medicaid, or the patient being unable to pay, causing their costs to either be passed along to the government for reimbursement or to consumers in the form of higher prices.