About 1,000,000 health care/insurance reform articles ago, someone wrote that President Obama should be “selling” reform with a “because of explosive cost growth, if you want to keep your current insurance, we need reform” not a “with reform you will be able to keep your current insurance” tactic. (I searched to no avail, the keywords “Obama” and “health reform” return just a few possibilities, if you have a link to the article leave it in the comments)
Opinions on all of this are numerous. It’s overwhelming. (I even considered going on a health reform posting strike simply because its domination of my daily life has put me over capacity. But then I realized that would be a complete cop out and akin to leaving a Rolling Stones concert before they play Satisfaction or leaving a July 4th celebration in Washington DC at 4:30 in the afternoon or walking out on Game 7 of the World Series after the sixth inning of a tight ballgame…just can’t do it. So instead I continue my efforts to ingest, comprehend, and explain this crazy system and its intended fixes. But maybe a posting strike would work if we could gain critical mass? Let me know…)
Back to the topic at hand. The mesmerizing costs of health care. In an Atlantic article by David Goldhill currently making the internet rounds he puts the lifetime costs of insuring your family into perspective:
Let’s say you’re a 22-year-old single employee at my company today, starting out at a $30,000 annual salary. Let’s assume you’ll get married in six years, support two children for 20 years, retire at 65, and die at 80. Now let’s make a crazy assumption: insurance premiums, Medicare taxes and premiums, and out-of-pocket costs will grow no faster than your earnings—say, 3 percent a year. By the end of your working days, your annual salary will be up to $107,000. And over your lifetime, you and your employer together will have paid $1.77 million for your family’s health care. $1.77 million! And that’s only after assuming the taming of costs! In recent years, health-care costs have actually grown 2 to 3 percent faster than the economy. If that continues, your 22-year-old self is looking at an additional $2 million or so in expenses over your lifetime—roughly $4 million in total.
Rational arguments are probably the worst to use because this issue is a very emotional one. But if there’s anything that could snap emotional folks out of their daze, it’s dollar bills. Anyway, read the article. It’s a bit of an investment of time but it succinctly lays out the issues we’re facing in a way that’s escaped most of the millions of articles written on the topic thus far.