Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Health Care Insurance Still Rising

There is more bad news on the health care front. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, a health care research organization, health insurance has risen by an average of 7.7% this year. The insurance industry is touting the rise in cost as the smallest increase in years. This is small comfort to workers, because the rise is twice the rate of inflation [and most workers are not even keeping up with inflation].

Dr. Drew Altman, president and CEO of the Kaiser Family Foundation, says, "To working people and business owners, a reduction in an already very high rate of increase just means you're still paying more. Yes, the rate of increase is down, but I don't think anybody is celebrating."

Since 2000, the cost of health insurance has risen by 78%. It now takes $4,242 to cover an individual, and $11,480 to cover a family on average. Is it any wonder that 1.3 million people were added to the roll of the uninsured just in the last year?

Dr. Altman says, "The long-term trend is very clear, and it's the slow unraveling of coverage in the employment-based system, especially among smaller employers." He says that over 155 million people get their insurance through their job. However, since 2000, the number of employers offering health insurance has fallen from 69% to 61%. With costs rising each year, there is no reason to believe this trend will not continue.

It might be different if all this money went to pay for health care received by Americans, but it doesn't. Much of it goes into the pockets of the insurance company's owners. After all, those mansions and cadillacs don't grow on trees.

It is time to cut the fat out of the health care system, and the fat is the obscene profits of the insurance companies. Let them make their enormous profits in some other field. The health care of Americans is too important to be left in the hands of ever more greedy capitalists. It is time for our government to step up and assume its responsibility for the health of its citizens. All of our citizens need, and have a right to adequate health care. The only thing that can provide this fairly to all citizens is a single-payer system run by the government.

Call it socialism, or whatever you want. I say it's neccessary and long overdue.


  1. Health care is expensive largely because the small inexpensive preventive measures are not available to the uninsured. I had an insurance company tell us that our 1-year-old's routine "wellness check" is not covered.

    These uninsured eventually get a very serious ailment, go to the emergency room, and receive uncompensated treatment b/c they're on the verge of death.

    Uncompensated treatment drives up the cost of health care. i.e. the cost of health insurance. So there are more uninsured in the next cycle. Rinse, repeat.

  2. Matt:

    That is awful. I had a similar problem (BCBS wouldn't cover a second check up within a year even though the second checkup was 11 months after the previous checkup and the kids needed it for back-to-cschool shots). Did you have to pay for your baby's check up out of your pocket?

    I think the unnecessarily high cost of prescription drugs is also a big part of problem. I know that Senate Bill 410 would have allowed Texans to buy prescription drugs from Canadian pharmacies over a state secured internet site. Perry opposed it, Bell supported it, but I don't know where Carole or Kinky come down.

  3. We must not forget that insurance companies aren't started to provide coverage for health care. They were started to make money. Denying or delaying coverage simply adds to the financial bottom line.


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