Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence
For Immediate Release
Contact: Brendan Kelly, firstname.lastname@example.org
NEW ANALYSIS: GOP HEALTHCARE PROPOSALS WOULD COST TAXPAYERS AND GUN VIOLENCE SURVIVORS
Gunshot survivors can face medical bills in the millions
GOP proposals will shift cost of care to hospitals and taxpayers, cut off necessary treatment to many survivors
WASHINGTON - A new report from the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence details the toll of treating gun violence victims on our health care system and the impacts of proposed changes to that system on hospitals, taxpayers, and gunshot victims struggling to recover from their wounds.
The cost of initial hospitalizations alone for gunshot victims is more than $700 million annually, approximately $24,000-32,000 per patient. For survivors with complications, such as Congressman Steve Scalise, the costs of treatment and recovery are many times that.
More research could tell us much more about those costs, but that research is not being undertaken because of historic funding threats associated with data collection around gun violence.
The report provides compelling anecdotal information about these long-term costs by profiling four individuals who survived gun shots: a couple that amassed $5 million in medical bills after they were shot in a drive-by; a young man wounded by celebratory gunfire when he was 11 whose care has cost north of $15 million; a young boy who was shot in the head at 7 and whose mother lost her job because of her need to care for him; and a teen now using a wheelchair after being shot in the back while walking to the grocery store.
Each of these individuals' journeys to recovery is unique, but critical coverage is a component of all of their stories and is essential to the survival of all gunshot victims. Unfortunately, access to that life-saving care is now on the chopping block as Congress considers new healthcare legislation that would severely cut Medicaid, Medicare and ACA expansion programs, leaving many gunshot victims without proper care and treatment.
Kyle Fischer, MD, MPH, and Adjunct Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine at University of Maryland School of Medicine said, "Before the ACA, 80 percent of gunshot victims were either uninsured or got some sort of public insurance, so I know all of my patients, for the most part, are just going to lose insurance. And that's just unacceptable."
Initial hospitalizations and follow-up care for gun violence victims are covered under the ACA through individual insurance coverage, which cannot discriminate based on pre-existing conditions, nor increase in cost as a result of such conditions. They are also covered by the Medicaid and Medicare programs, which cover more than 40 percent of the costs associated with initial hospitalizations for gunshot wounds in the U.S. If Congress enacts this plan, the cost of much of this care will shift back to taxpayers and consumers with private insurance.
Brady Center president Dan Gross said, "Far too many politicians in Congress are adding insult to injury by blocking legislation that would keep guns out of dangerous hands in the first place while making every effort to rob survivors of the affordable healthcare they so desperately need. The bill being considered right now would do just that. It would reduce access to and increase prices for critical care, and shift that increased cost to hospitals and taxpayers. Americans deserve better than this from their health care system, and so do the victims of gun violence who must have effective and affordable treatment to make a full recovery."
Hours before this report was released, Congressman Steve Scalise returned to the intensive care unit over infection concerns.
Gross continued, "We're devastated to hear that Congressman Scalise has returned to the ICU, our thoughts are with him and his family. His road to recovery has been turbulent, uncertain, and no doubt expensive, but it is not unique. His journey reinforces the simple truth about aftercare for gunshot survivors: it's necessary and costly, and it'll be far too out of reach for so many victims if this GOP overhaul moves forward."
The mission of the Brady organization and its Million Mom March is to create a safer America by cutting gun deaths in half by 2025. For more insight on gun violence prevention, follow us on Facebook and Twitter @BradyBuzz.
About Us: The Brady Campaign and Center, united with the Million Mom March, is a national network of over 90 grassroots chapter affiliates mobilized to prevent gun violence at the community level. The network has played a vital role in expanding Brady background checks in the six states that have passed legislation since the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut and produced the largest national protest of gun violence in U.S. history - The Million Mom March, Mother's Day 2000.