Friday, September 19, 2008

Free Market Health Care Costs Grew 5 Times Faster Than Wages. Republicans Unimpressed?

In a glaring example of how blind the Republican Parties ideology is to the inhumane treatment of citizens in our current health care system, their push for treatment shopping doesn’t address the underlying issue, cost. I doubt the following report will make any difference in their position, but at least they should begin to realize the insurance industry will never support lower prices, and continue with their premium increases.

The La Crosse Tribune article “Report shows pay lagging behind health care costs,” spelled it out clearly:

Health care premiums rose almost five times faster than earnings for Wisconsin families from 2000 to 2007, according to a report issued Thursday September 18, 2008, by the group Citizen Action Wisconsin.

It showed health care premiums have grown by 73.9 percent in the past eight years, while median earnings rose only 15.5 percent. The high increases in insurance premiums occurred despite the trend of companies offering “thinner coverage” to workers — coverage that offers fewer benefits with higher deductibles, co-payments and co-insurances.“

As a result, Wisconsin families are paying more but receiving less in health care coverage,” said Ann Vogel, Citizen Action spokesperson for western Wisconsin. Sandy Brekke, director of St. Claire Health Mission in La Crosse, said the study comes as no surprise, as the number of clients coming into the free clinic has grown as well. “We’re seeing people who had had insurance come in after not being able to afford insurance any more,” Brekke said.

“Premiums end up being a larger part of their salary and that doesn’t allow them to live a reasonable life.”

While Badger Care serves most poor families no such program exists for single adults or adults with grown children who work but cannot afford health insurance. That forces people to forego preventive medicine and screenings, leaving chronic conditions undiagnosed and untreated. The Rev. Curtis Miller said the study shows the need for comprehensive reform. Accomplishing this, he said, is as much a moral as an economic issue.


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