Picking up Nickels

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Health care crisis? I'm Exhibit A

I've shared my worries about my ever-increasing health insurance costs since I started this blog and figured that the nationwide hand-wringing over health care reform made it an opportune time for an update.

The renewal notice for my 2009-2010 family HMO insurance plan arrived earlier this month and beat me into submission with a 14% increase in premiums. I've looked into downgrading my plan for the fourth time since 2001 in an attempt to cut costs, but the tax treatment that comes along with the higher deductible plans doesn't really buy me much when I weigh the risks and costs of going that route.

The numbers don't lie. Since 2001, my health insurance premiums have increased by 116% while the rate of inflation during that time is a much lower 22% (so says usinflationcalculator.com):

For many reasons, this latest increase has been the hardest to take of them all. Most importantly, my monthly health insurance premium has now eclipsed my monthly mortgage PITI (principal, interest, taxes, and insurance) obligation. Even more disturbing, The Commonwealth Fund foundation estimates that family premiums could double by 2020 if cost growth continues on its current course. Good grief!

Isn't it about time that something is done about this? President Obama at least seems to be trying, although I'm not convinced that his initiatives will do much to halt the escalation of health care costs. What we really need is bipartisan support for health care reform and meaningful debate to get this done properly.

So, instead of disrupting town hall forums and calling the President a Nazi or spreading foolish death panel talk, how about asking some tough questions and engaging in some productive debate? How about outlining a plan that will work instead of merely stating how flawed the Democrats' plan is? What we need is someone who will put politics aside and come up will some real reform that will sensibly cut health care costs for all Americans. I believe that the person who has the stones to do just that will be shocked by the number of Americans who will stand behind them in a show of support. Sadly, I'm not sure such a person exists. :(


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