Friday, September 3, 2010

Healthcare Costs and the American Dream

The New America Blog has a story on rising healthcare costs: Good news: increases are more modest compared to previous years; bad news: cost increases are now almost entirely being passed on to consumers.

I was speaking to a friend recently who works for a major life insurance company. That company has recently moved to a high-deductible plan, meaning employees are now responsible for several thousand dollars of medical expenses before any insurance kicks in. For younger healthier people, skipping healthcare is an option but for young families or older employees this is effectively a 5%+ pay cut.

I'm not one to argue against patients taking more responsibility, and consequently more costs, for their health and well being. However, the issue here is less about individual responsibility and more about the social contract we have with our employers. The contract that if we do our jobs well and if we work hard there are certain measures of security that accrue. See this article from the Financial Times from a few weeks ago on the crisis in Middle America.

How does one reverse this decline?

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