The benefit of Medicaid coverage received by a newly insured adult is less than half what that coverage costs taxpayers, which is about $5,500 a year.

"The reason is simple: The uninsured already receive a substantial amount of health care, but pay for only a very small portion of it, especially when their medical bills are high...We have estimated that 60 percent of government spending to expand Medicaid to new recipients ends up paying for care that the nominally uninsured already receive, courtesy of taxpayer dollars and hospital resources. In other words, from the recipient’s perspective the alternatives are $5,500 in cash or only about 40 percent of that — $2,200 — in health insurance benefits, on top of the care they were already receiving."

empirical