Sunday, July 26, 2009

The consequences of embracing the status quo

Here's the punchline at Newshoggers:
In a report at American Progress today titled Health Care Premiums Run Amok, David Cutler writes (emphasis added):
Health care costs are expected to grow 71 percent over the next decade, which will in turn drive premium increases for health insurance. … average family premiums will grow to more than $22,000 by 2019, up from $13,100 today. In some states with higher-than-average premiums, family premiums will exceed $25,000 in 10 years. Of course, a family's total health care costs will be even higher once co-payments and other out-of-pocket expenses are calculated into the total.
For all except a lucky few whose companies pick up the bulk of their premiums, our premiums are already -- as I'm wont to repeat -- like a second rent (or mortgage, as the case may be). Who can pay a third?
If we're lucky, under that scenario, we might still have the same lifespan (which is currently comparable to that of Portugal, but below many other industrialized nations) and other quality of life indicators will be at their sorry status quo levels. More realistically, we'll probably see a further decline in those quality of life indicators, while paying more for our health "care" than ever before. Said it before and will say it again - someone obviously profits from the status quo. The problem is that unless we're of the privileged class we don't reap any benefits.

Footnote: Lisa at Punkass Blog has a good illustration of what a lack of health insurance coverage means.

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