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Study: Taxpayers stuck with big medical bills for gun crime

Gun violence isn’t only hurting the victims and their families. According to a new report, American taxpayers are picking up most of the tab for gunshot-related hospital costs.

handgun with bullets
Sascha Burkard, ThinkStock

Using statistics from 2010, Urban Institute found uninsured victims and those on government insurance made up 73 percent of the $669.2 million in hospital costs from firearm assaults.

“When their healthcare costs can’t be met through private insurers, public programs and special subsidies have to pick up the cost,” said Sam Bieler, co-author of the study.

In New Jersey, taxpayers are on the hook for 78 percent of these costs, according to the report. Approximately 59 percent of victims in New Jersey have no health coverage, and another 19 percent are publicly insured.

Bieler said any smart New Jersey resident can tell you where these millions of dollars can be better spent.

“Every gunshot is money directly out of taxpayers’ pockets,” he said. “And every gunshot we prevent is money directly back in.”

The study suggested that “significant public resources could be saved or redirected if effective gun-violence prevention strategies could be identified.”

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