By 2014, if all goes well, we should have something that resembles national health care. This may mean that millions of people who have suffered in the pool of 17.7% of Americans in the United States without health insurance, may suddenly be seeking care for everything from anxiety to obesity and beyond.
In Rhode Island, this would be a welcome relief from the recent trends in health care in terms of numbers of people with insurance. The recent trends, according to the Rhode Island Health Commissioner’s office, are that between 2005 and 2010, the number of insured people in Rhode Island dropped by 65,000. In 2005, there were about 620,000 people insured by the three big insurers, BCBSRI, United, and Tufts, and in 2010 this number had dropped to about 555,000. During that same time, there was a modest increase in the number of people receiving either Rite Care and Rite Share. If you look at the study cited below issued in January of 2011 from the Rhode Island Senate Fiscal Office, you will see that in 2009 and 2010, there was a significant amount of stimulus money that was used to cover the costs of the growing Rite Care and Rite Share programs — $35.2 million in 2009, $56.8 million in 2010, and $56.5 million in 2011.
Now, let’s give it some thought. Let’s just say Obamacare goes through. Could it be possible that part of the growing economy can be the growing health care provisions that are made for those nearly 50 million people who are newly insured? Could neighborhoods in South Providence, downtown Woonsocket, and Eden Park Cranston all begin to flourish with new health care providers serving the throngs of people flocking in for health care? Statistically, the uninsured are more likely to be obese, smokers, and drinkers, so there are plenty of preventative care issues that could be addressed with could treatment plans.
So instead of giving $75 million to Curt Schilling and betting on the idea that we need another MMOG video game on the internet where people will waste time being sedentary and eating junk food while they try to climb inane hierarchies, perhaps we should think about ways that government can promote health care businesses that will likely be in great demand in the very near future.
Link to the report on Privately Insured Rhode Islanders
Link to report on RITE Care and RITE Share Insured Rhode Islanders
One thought on “An Argument for Health Care as an Economic Driver”
“Could neighborhoods in South Providence, downtown Woonsocket, and Eden Park Cranston all begin to flourish with new health care providers serving the throngs of people flocking in for health care?”
No. But here’s the simple math I toss at anyone who isn’t convinced that we need some sort of government-administered health care system:
Right now say that 20% of GDP goes to government and another 20% goes to health care (20 + 20 = 40%). If we can stomach having government health care like other developed nations, we can cut that to 30 + 0 = 30%. This would put more money into regular people AND companies than ANY tax cut or Keynesian boost that can be imagined.
My fear is that the system that’s coming online as we speak is actually designed NOT to do this, it’s designed to funnel more money into providers. This is a case where the compromise MIGHT end up being worse than the original problem.