The Buckeye Institute is pushing something called “Personal Wellness and Responsibility Accounts” – which are basically health savings accounts for really poor people.

It goes something like this: “eligible residents” (aka poor people) take 5% of their income and put it into a health savings account- which they use to pay for basic medical expenses. They need to use all of this money first before they can get any help from the state for their medical bills.

The program is aimed at people at or near the poverty level- which means that people earning less than $10,000/year are now expected to put 5% of their meager salary into a savings account to pay for their medical expenses.

We’re talking about people who make less than $192 a week!

Since the program is, of course, optional- what do you think is going to happen?

Obviously no one is going to enroll. Which, I’m guessing, is exactly what the selfish people over at the Buckeye Institute are hoping for.

The working poor will not opt to save money toward some potential future health problems. Instead they will choose to waste the little bit of cash they do earn on stupid stuff like food and shelter.

And if they do get sick they won’t get treatment. They’ll end up missing work and making even less money. And if gets really bad, they’ll go to the emergency room.

At the end of the day, this will end up costing the state much, much more…

According to the NCHC:

  • The United States spends nearly $100 billion per year to provide uninsured residents with health services, often for preventable diseases or diseases that physicians could treat more efficiently with earlier diagnosis.
  • Hospitals provide about $34 billion worth of uncompensated care a year. Another $37 billion is paid by private and public payers for health services for the uninsured and $26 billion is paid out-of-pocket by those who lack coverage.
  • The uninsured are 30 to 50 percent more likely to be hospitalized for an avoidable condition, with the average cost of an avoidable hospital stayed estimated to be about $3,300 .
  • The increasing reliance of the uninsured on the emergency department has serious economic implications, since the cost of treating patients is higher in the emergency department than in other outpatient clinics and medical practices .

Big Surprise! The folks over at The Buckeye Institute are still full of shit.