St. Louis Post-Dispatch Editorial–Health insurance costs are crushing American families

The impact on family finances has been direct and dismaying: In 2003, 14 percent of the average Missouri worker’s median household income went to cover premium costs for health insurance through her employer. By 2010, that household was paying 19.6 percent of its income for health insurance.

The more of a family’s income that’s spent on health insurance costs, the less there is to pay for housing expenses, utilities, transportation, college education for children and savings for emergencies and retirement. Instead of looking toward for the future, families find themselves scrambling to cover the rising expenses of the present.

Read it all.


Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --The 2009 American Health Care Reform Debate, Children, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family, Personal Finance, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

2 comments on “St. Louis Post-Dispatch Editorial–Health insurance costs are crushing American families

  1. Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) says:

    Leaving aside the obvious bias of the editorial — SLD is a very leftish outfit — they’re missing the key point. [b]First-dollar [i]THIRD-PARTY[/i] coverage of medical expenses is, and always has been, completely unsustainable.[/b]

    What would auto insurance cost if it covered oil changes, tires, routine maintenance, and all repairs at no direct expense to the car owner?

    There are, most definitely, other options. Few people do the arithmetic which demonstrates repeatedly that the extra cost of a low-deductible (or even worse zero-deductible) is ever recuperated.

    We have a $10,000-deductible family policy from BCBS that costs us about $200 per month. Total premium. Included in that are all standard preventative visits: mammograms, female annual exam & labs, well-baby, all immunizations, and so on. Furthermore, normal labwork is deeply discounted (my wife has a pre-existing cancer condition), as are her follow-up physician visits.

    Consequently, our out-of-pocket for preventative and routine stuff is quite reasonable, and if there’s ever a really serious problem it won’t bankrupt the family. In many ways our situation is far better than people with employer-funded insurance because the majority of people pushing for, or administering, such systems are simply too ignorant to know where the real savings are.

    Unfortunately, a whole bunch of folks are more than happy to leverage such ignorance into a vast, massively intrusive and utterly unnecessary expansion of the federal government.

  2. Capt. Father Warren says:

    Yes Bart, and all the ignorance and the intrusion of the Feds has the effect of artificially stimulating demand while holding supply stagnant, or worse diminishing supply (eg, docs who won’t see medicaid patients). The predictable result is higher prices or rationing. And as Bart said, it is unsustainable.

    State and Federal regulations also have an effect of stunting innovation and capping true unbridled competition, also serving to hold prices artificially high.

    Guess what computers would cost (and how primitive they would be) if the Government controlled the computer market and you had to get one through your insurance company for “free” while you paid monthly computer premiums to your employer?