Health Care Insurance Mess Or Disaster, You Decide
Kaiser, the nonprofit corporation that tracks employer supported health insurance
, reported recently that the average cost of a family health insurance policy has reached over $15,000. This represents a 9% jump in 2011. According to the New York Times the cost of insurance has grown faster than wages, putting the middle class into an even tighter squeeze. Insurance companies defend the higher premiums and high profits by asserting that their costs will rise when the economy begins to recover. Demand for health care, along with expenses to insurance companies, has fallen since the beginning of the recession. This is because people are putting off elective treatments and some preventive care due to financial concerns.
The rising cost of premiums has also spurred a trend in requiring employees to shoulder a higher portion of the cost of health care. This double blow results in high-deductible policies coupled with higher co-pays. From 5.2% of the gross national product (GNP) in 1960, the proportion of income Americans pay for health care has risen at an alarming rate. At present, health care costs 17% of the US GNP.
Warren Buffet recently called on Congress to rein in the cost of health care, saying it is "a tapeworm eating at our economic body," Reuters reported. While "health care savings" plans somewhat mitigate the situation, they are not enough to offset the blow to the economy and to middle class pockets. The savings plans help with medical care because they are pre-tax accounts, but they cannot make up for the huge cost of the inefficient American system. A large portion of the money poured out for care goes to administrative and advertising costs, which contribute nothing to the quality of medical practice.
In terms of life expectancy and infant mortality quality, when compared with other industrialized and developed countries around the world, the United States compares poorly and pays much more for health care. Health care professionals report that this is because the gap in coverage leads to fewer preventive treatments. The less people have to spend, they have to choose where they will spend less money and health care is the first to be put on hold or suspended unless the health issues become life threatening and can no longer be ignored. This is also a reason why the cost of medical care for this segment of the population is on the increase.
People with the more serious medical conditions that are more serious because they just couldn't afford preventive care earlier on, plus the administrative inefficiency waste has plagued the American health care system with higher cost and is draining the economy before our very eyes.
by: Ethan Kalvin
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