Medicaid Payments for Gun Violence Vary by State

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Who pays for the hospital costs of gun violence can depend on the state where the victim is hospitalized, says a study from the Urban Institute quoted by the Miami Herald. The study compared changes in coverage for the hospital costs of gun violence in six states — Arizona, Florida, Kentucky, New Jersey, North Carolina, and Wisconsin — from 2010 to 2014. In states that offer Medicaid coverage for single adults, who are among the most likely group to be hospitalized for gun violence, a larger share of the costs were paid by the public health insurance program for low-income and disabled persons.

In states like Florida, where legislators have refused to cover single adults with Medicaid, local taxpayers and privately insured patients paid a larger share of the costs. Study author Embry Howell said most uninsured patients are unable to pay the hospital bill for gunshot care, which in Florida averaged about $13,000 per patient in 2014. “Uncompensated care essentially gets passed on to the other patients as higher costs,” Howell said. “The hospital has to recover it somehow.”

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