US Healthcare Costs to Double in Ten Years ($4 Trillion)!
According to a report released by the US Department of Health and Human Services, healthcare costs in our nation will double by the year 2016. That means 20% of our national budget will be spent on healthcare. Authored by economists from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the study was published in Health Affairs The Policy Journal of the Health Sphere. Karen Davis, President of the Commonwealth Fund, has called for transformation of our healthcare delivery system to improve efficiency and reduce costs. The Commonwealth Fund is a private organization advocating overhaul of our health care system to improve access, quality, and efficiency, with a focus on the underserved.
The National Coalition on Health Care is an alliance founded in 1990 to improve health care and advocates universal health care coverage, improved quality of care and cost management. They provide some sobering statistics in their Health Insurance Cost document:
- Although 47 million Americans have no health insurance, the US spends a higher percentage of its GDP on health care than Switzerland or Germany
- Employer and employee costs for health care insurance premiums are on the rise. Since 2000, cumulative inflation has been 18% , cumulative wage growth has been 20% but employment based health insurance premiums have increased 87 %! Employee contribution has increased 143% and out-of-pocket costs have risen by 115! Ouch!
- Unless something changes, health insurance costs will overtake profits by 2008!
- The main reason people are uninsured is that insurance costs too much.
- Health care costs increase as the number of uninsured increases
- One third of American families have delayed seeking medical treatment due to costs of care
- One fourth of American families had difficulties paying for medical care ove the past year
- Half of all bankruptcy filings in the US are partly due to medical expenses in the aftermath of a serious health problem. 68% of people who filed for bankruptcy had health insurance.
- One fourth of American families report housing problems due to medical debt resulting in the inability to meet mortgage or rent payments
- Almost half of consumers in Iowa reported cutting back on food and heating expenses to cope with rising health insurance costs
Wake up lawmakers and profiteers! The US Healthcare system is in critical condition!
Photo courtesy of Gale Encyclopedia of Public Health, 2002.