Monday, September 14, 2009

Health care thoughts ...

This is the first in a series of occasional short pieces and data about health care issues.

First, according to the NYT on Sept. 6, cumulative growth in insurance premiums has gone up 120 percent between 1999 and 2008. Premiums have more than doubled in less than 10 years. I can't think of anything else, beyond maybe gas prices, that has doubled in the last 10 years. Maybe I'm just not thinking hard enough ...

Average monthly worker premium contributions have gone from $130 in 1999 to $280 in 2008. Very interesting point here. While this has been spread out over 10 years, if you think of this as disposable income, you can see where this kind of transfer of wealth from one sector to the other could cause economic problems. That's $1,800 more pulled out of the general economy per year and put into the health care economy. We all know where a lot of that money has gone.

The percentage of health care spending, as part of the GDP, has risen from 13.7 percent to 20.3 percent, between 1999 and 2008. So, when conservatives say that Obama is trying to take over 1/7 of the nation's economy, they are close at least in the numbers department. It is actually 1/5 of the economy.

However, the larger point is that the numbers show us all exactly where the problem is. The problem is insurance, not health care. Any "reform" bill should put some cost controls on insurance, not care itself. Any bill that forces people to enroll in an insurance program, without any cost controls in place, is simply welfare for health insurance companies.


Jamie said...

Thanks, Tony!

Well, as Doug Henwood pointed out:

"The richest 0.01%, about 30,000 people, saw their income rise by 25%." from 1999 to 2007.


He also has some good points on Obama's health care pay off to the insurance companies.

jeremy said...

Don't forget that health insurance cost's so much because there is no longer a free market involved. I cannot buy the insurance I want. I have to purchase the insurance the government tells me I can. NH has 26 pages of insurance mandates that include gastric bypass and fertility treatment. I'm a former Marine, in great shape, and have children. I don't need gastric bypass or fertility treatment. I cannot buy insurance without those coverages. I can't buy insurance across state lines. WHY! The restrictions and mandages have driven almost all of the insurance carriers out of the state (there are two left willing to sell insurance). I guarantee you if I could buy the policy I wanted from who I wanted to, it would cost alot less!

Sorry, the marxist class warfare stuff doesn't work with me. Don't forget, although the wealthiest .01% may have made more money last year, they also pay a very large percentage of the taxes in this country. My question is, how much is enough, 50%, 60%, 90% ?? I pay nearly a quarter of my income in just federal income taxes. Then I hand over another 15% to my state in property taxes. Add up the gas tax, rooms and meals tax, real estate transfer tax, vehicle registration taxes, and I pay almost 50% of my income in taxes. So my question is, when is it enough? I already work the first 5 months out of the year and hand every penny to some level of government. Should it be 6 months? 7? The entire year?