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The Rising Cost of Health Care, and the Uninsured - Essay Example

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Health insurance premiums have been rising on average by double-digit percentage points over the past five years, a rate of increase that is 2-3 times the rate of inflation. Because of these out-of-control health care costs, there has been a steep rise in the number of uninsured Americans…
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The Rising Cost of Health Care, and the Uninsured
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Download file to see previous pages In the face of rising health care costs, fewer employers are able to provide their workers with health insurance; the percentage of employers offering health insurance dropped from 69% in 2000 to 60% in 2005. Even if employers are able to provide health insurance benefits, the trend is towards providing high-deductible insurance that covers an ever-shrinking percentage of health care costs.
The net result is that more and more employed middle-class Americans find themselves with low-quality or no access to health care. The erosion of employer-based coverage has been partially offset by increased enrollment in Medicaid, which is designed to provide a safety-net for the lowest income Americans.
However, Medicaid has recently been the subject of relentless funding cuts by cash-strapped states and Congressional representatives who are ideologically opposed to welfare programs. As the program continues to be slashed, it is certain that Medicaid will not be able to offset the losses in employer-based insurance, resulting in more and more uninsured individuals. Health insecurity is at an all-time high. In a time when thousands of people lose their health insurance every day, when health care is becoming elusive to even well-to-do Americans, and when any person is just one pink slip away from becoming uninsured, it becomes clear that health care for all is not just important to achieve, but imperative. (
Most people have health insurance through their employers or jobs. But, employment is no longer a guarantee of health insurance coverage. As companies change from manufacturing-based economy to a service economy, the working patterns revolve and health insurance coverage has become less stable. Due to rising health insurance, many employers cannot afford to offer health benefits. Companies that do offer health insurance, often require employees to contribute a larger share toward their coverage. As a result, a lot of people have made a decision not to take advantage of job-based health insurance because they cannot afford it.
Because of this healthcare spending continues to rise at the fastest rate in history. For example in 2004, according to the National Coalition of Healthcare (NCHC) the total national health expenditures rose 7.9 percent -- over three times the rate of inflation (1). Total spending was $1.9 TRILLION in 2004, or $6,280 per person (1). Total healthcare spending represented 16 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP). Healthcare spending is expected to increase at similar levels for the next decade reaching $4 TRILLION in 2015, or 20 percent of GDP.
In 2005, employer health insurance premiums increased by 9.2 percent - nearly three times the rate of inflation. The annual premium for an employer health plan covering a family of four averaged nearly $11,000. The annual premium for single coverage averaged over $4,000.
Experts say our healthcare system is filled with inefficiencies, unnecessary administrative expenses, inflated prices, poor management, and inappropriate care, waste and fraud. These problems drastically ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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