According to an Urban Institute Study called The Hospital Costs of Firearms Assaults fount that about 80 percent of the cost of treating victims of gun violence in 2010 was borne in part by taxpayers. That means taxpayers paid for victims' care either through government programs like Medicaid or through publicly-funded programs that subsidize hospital care for those who don't have insurance and can’t afford to pay.
“The victims are concentrated among young, poor males,” said the
report's author, Embry Howell, a senior fellow at the Urban Institute.
“This is the population we’re talking about and their costs are very
high. It's one group that is heavily uninsured."
Hospitals in the U.S. spent $630 million in 2010 treating the victims of gun violence
-- everything from minor gunshot wounds to injuries that required
days-long stays -- and public funds provided most of that money. The
Medicaid costs of gun violence alone that year amounted to approximately
Notably, the report found that the average cost of a hospital visit
for a gun violence victim is $14,000 more than that of the average
hospital stay, due to the severity of the injuries often involved.
Although, the true economic cost of gun violence is much larger that what hospitals are spending on care. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that gun violence deaths cost the U.S. economy $37 billion and gun injuries $3.7 billion in 2005, the last year the public health agency conducted an analysis. In addition, taxpayers often end up footing the bill for social services for gun violence victims, as well as building the expensive hospital trauma units needed for their treatment.
One bit of good news:
Many of the victims of gun violence who are uninsured will see their
hospital bills go down as President Obama’s health care reform law
offers more low-income Americans access to Medicaid in many states.
The Bad News:
because Medicaid is a government-subsidized program, Howell noted, the
cost of gun violence to taxpayers will go up.
In other words, society bears the cost of gun violence, but that's another thing I've been sayiing all along.