Expensive Smog

September 16, 2011


Photo: Courtesy of Paul

Healthcare costs have been climbing in the last decade, and there are many reasons why.  In California, air pollution has notoriously been a silent spender.  Air pollution in California has cost federal, state, and private health insurers roughly $193 million in hospital cost.  Without quality air, the hospitals expenses are increasing, causing more out of pocket money from patients and insurers.  The LA Times states that Medicare and MediCal, California’s Medicaid program, have paid more than two-thirds of the costs.  We find that California is a good sample because of the population given.  California is comprised of many heavily populated cities.  Therefore, there will be much more transportation needs and requirements than a state such as New Hampshire.  So, what does this mean for the citizens of California?

 Air pollution is a major risk factor for disorders like asthma, pneumonia, and cardiovascular complications.  According to the New York Times, air pollution led to almost 30,000 hospital admissions for these disorders from 2005 to 2007.  In Los Angeles, and average emergency room visit can cost $4,389.  The problem with this is that air pollution is a problem that can be avoided; whereas something like an accident cannot.  Expenses can be avoided if smarter environmental decisions made, such as using more efficient cars. In other words, a decrease in air pollution will also decrease hospital visits.  A decrease in hospital visits will eliminate expenses and put more ease on the patient and insurer.

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