WASHINGTON (CBSDC) – A recent study conducted by the Urban Institute has found that most costs incurred by hospital visits from firearm injuries are shouldered by taxpayers.

“The cost of the use of hospitals for victims of firearm assaults in the United States is high. These costs are concentrated among young males and residents of low-income areas,” researchers state in a document regarding the study published to the Urban Institute’s official website. “Since a majority of costs are for publicly insured or the uninsured, most costs are borne by US taxpayers.”

Researchers involved in the study said that they made use of two sources – the 2010 Nationwide Emergency Department Sample and the 2010 Nationwide Inpatient Sample – to gather information about injuries cased by firearms. In all, reported 36,341 emergency room visits and 25,024 inpatient stays resulting from firearm assaults were reported in 2010.

The data collected regarding the nature of injuries leading to emergency room visits and hospital stays was then factored together with a hospital cost-to-charge ratio.

“Data from the 2010 US Census, the 2010 American Community Survey, and the University of Michigan’s 2006–2010 Median Household Income Chart are used to create the population denominators needed for constructing utilization rates,” researchers added.

Ultimately, the team involved in the study found that over half of all costs resulting from injuries caused by firearms were incurred by people from zip codes of the lowest 25th percentile.

“People who reside in the lowest income zip codes are about twice as likely to have an [emergency room] visit or be admitted to the hospital for firearm assault injuries,” one figure indicated, according to the study.

Another figure highlighted that “[v]ictims of firearm assault are disproportionately more likely to be uninsured. [Emergency room] visits for these uninsured victims are nearly three times the national average.”

The team felt that the matter needed further research, and was especially worthy of national focus in light of the widespread implementation of Obamacare, known formally as the Affordable Care Act.

“With implementation of the Affordable Care Act, many of the low-income uninsured victims of firearm assaults, especially young males, will become eligible for Medicaid or other forms of insurance,” the study noted. “As the nation turns to efforts to control the cost of health care through prevention strategies, the prevention of firearm assaults should receive increased attention as a high public health priority.”


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