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Sun

24

May

2009

Americans are Crumbling Under Excessive Health Care Premium Costs
Sunday, 24 May 2009 04:02
by Peter Stern

Is it too late to help Americans? Is the damage done?

According to a report by Families USA, April 2009 it is urgent that health care must be made more affordable for all families, regardless of income.

The diagnosis from the report outlines a dismal view of the current health care system:

"Long before the current economic crisis began, Americans were already straining under the burden of two related trends: shrinking coverage and rising health care costs. Over the last decade, millions of Americans have joined the ranks of the uninsured, and millions more have become underinsured as the value of their coverage has declined. At the same time, health insurance premiums and out-of-pocket costs have risen steadily, and the number of families who are facing unmanageably high health care costs has grown. Left unchecked, health care costs will keep going up, forcing more and more American families into debt—and even into bankruptcy and foreclosure.

To better understand the magnitude of the health care cost crisis, Families USA commissioned The Lewin Group to analyze data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Census Bureau that reveal how many Americans face very high health care costs. This analysis allowed us to determine how many non-elderly people are in families that will spend more than 10 percent of their pre-tax income, and more than 25 percent of their pre-tax income, on health care in 2009.

Our analysis paints a stark picture: Nearly one in four Americans under the age of 65—some 64.4 million people—will spend more than 10 percent of their family income on health care in 2009. The vast majority of these people (82.6 percent) have health insurance. And 18.7 million non-elderly Americans—more than three-quarters of whom have health insurance—are in families that will spend more than 25 percent of their income on health care in 2009."

To read more about this report and its findings, see here.

The amazing, if not disgusting, point is that health care premiums have risen more than 6 times faster than wages. Add to that the increasing number of unemployed Americans and also companies who have stopped or cut-back on covering their employees and you have a major contagion of an escalating number of Americans who 1) are not insured, 2) can no longer afford to maintain their coverage and 3) are paying up to 30 percent of their pre-taxed income to keep their family insured.


You don't have to be Einstein to determine that the negative forces have cancelled the worth and success of our health care system and that another more affordable health care system is needed.

Will lawmakers and the health care industry learn quickly enough, or will we soon have a similar as occurred within the financial sector, another decay of one of our infrastructures? What happens to private insurance when the government must provide alternative health care services to all those Americans to whom the current antiquated health care system crumbles to the Earth in a pile of dust?

Apparently, Americans will not have to wait too long to find out.
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