The problem — outrageous increases year after year in our insurance cost. Here are the last three year’s increases (assuming I made no change to our $2000 deductible program): 2005 = $206 for a single, $640 for a family; 2006 = $229 for a single, $710 for a family; then a jump to $278 and $862 (this is with a high-deductible HSA with a $2850 deductible).
To help keep our cost and the cost to my employees under control we went from a $2000 deductible, to a $2850 deductible with an HSA and will be putting in place a program with a $5000 deductible this year.
The business is covering the 12% increase this year and will continue to contribute $50 per month to the employees’ HSA accounts. The employees continue to pay about $150 per month for health and dental. I also put some dollars in for family - but not as much.
The bottom line is that our same health coverage would have gone up 34% this year! I can’t afford it and neither can my staff. The increase is due to “normal” increase approved by the State, an increase because my staff is aging and an increase due to “experience” (that means we used the insurance).
How much can an individual who makes $18,000 to $40,000 afford? What percentage of revenue can a small business afford?
Small business is the backbone of our economy — our elected officials can ignore this issue no longer. We need comprhensive, market based solutions without socialized medicine.
This letter has not been edited.
I admire Mr. Rothschild's concern for his employees' health, and sympathize with his struggle to provide benefits for them. But I believe he basically just proved why "market-based" (i.e., privatized) healthcare is NOT working in this country. It is heavily based on employer contributions, with little government regulation, based on his observations.
The result is the insurance industry is holding everyone hostage at this point - both employees and employers - with their ever-increasing premiums
Now, if we had a socialized system of single payer healthcare in this country, small businesses would not have to shoulder the costs of healthcare, nor would any employer, in fact.
That being said, I realize *some* single payer advocates espouse a plan that would require employer contributions, but not all do, and I think that's often assumed otherwise. That's because politicians like Hilary Clinton refuse to subscribe to a completely government funded (from taxpayer money) system, for fear of being branded "socialists." Or, just as likely - they're in the pockets of the insurance giants!Posted by mytwosense on April 12, 2007 08:50 PM
Alpha graphics health care costs
I am thrilled to read that Mr. Rothschild wants "comprehensive, market based solutions without socialized medicine." I have submitted such a proposal to the Blue Ribbon Commission on Health Care Reform [colorado.gov/208commission]. It's called "FAIR: Free-markets, Affordability, and Individual Rights," A pre-view is on-line at [tinyurl.com/3277o9] and the PDF version is at [tinyurl.com/39o87y].
This proposal is unlike most proposals for health care reform, which call for more government controls, spending, and programs. Instead, FAIR addresses the root cause of skyrocketing health care costs: federal and state programs and policies that infringe upon our individual rights. The proposal draws upon dozens of resources including the RAND Corporation, the National Bureau of Economic Research, and the Cato Institute. It leads with a quote by Nobel laureate Milton Friedman.
In the proposal I write that "tax exempt status of employer-provided health insurance, mandated insurance benefits, and Medicaid have transformed most health insurance policies into pre-paid health care, which insulates consumers from the true costs of health care and hence increases costs for everyone. Third-party payments also insulate doctors from their patients, which erodes the doctor-patient relationship." While fundamental reform must occur at the federal level (eliminating the tax subsidy for employer-provided insurance, Medicaid and Medicare, and FDA reform), the Colorado legislature should:
* “Repeal any and all benefits mandates related to health insurance. … Such mandates drive up the costs of insurance premiums, thereby causing some people to drop insurance or not purchase it.”
* “Phase out the state’s distinction of a ’small group of one’ [a.k.a., ‘business group of one’]… [This] will encourage more of the self-employed to seek lower-cost, long-term, individual insurance in conjunction with a tax-exempt Health Savings Account.”
* Reform Medicaid -
In a detailed Appendix, Schwartz shows how Medicaid fails to satisfy any of the Commission’s criteria. He proposes that the Colorado legislature:
(1) convert Medicaid to a program that provides enrollees vouchers for private health insurance and Health Opportunity Accounts.
(2) reduce costs and abuse by utilizing the new state-level authority granted by the 2006 Deficit Reduction Act (DRA)
(3) “allow Medicaid to compete with charities by establishing a dollar-for-dollar tax deduction for donations to qualified Colorado Health Charities.”
I also recommend the website of Colorado-based Freedom and Individual Rights in Medicine: [www.westandfirm.org].
It's unfortunate that many people, including "mytwocents" consider our health care system to be "market-based" or "privatized." Yet, state and federal legislation has crippled a true free-market. Here are some examples, with references:
 government health insurance mandates increase premiums by up to 45% (For references, Google “Remove barriers to affordable health insurance” & www.cahi.org),
 Medicaid unfairly competes by crowding out private insurance and increasing costs for those not enrolled. (Google “Medicaid Crowd-Out of Private Long-Term Care Insurance Demand” and “NBER Working Paper No. 10930″.) Further, the USA Today reports that “many workers choose Medicaid over insurance offered by their employers because it is less expensive.” (Google “Welfare reform opens Medicaid to millions”)
 The tax-exempt status of employer-provided insurance reduces competition and has converted true insurance into pre-paid health care. Insulated from costs, patients over-consume and drive up prices - while costs of uninsured procedures such as cosmetic surgery and corrective eye surgery have decreases compared to the Consumer Price Index. (Google “NCPA - Brief Analysis 437, Why Are Health Costs Rising?” and “Insulation vs. Insurance”)
 Health-care industry mandates costs each household $1,500 per year — with dubious benefits — and is responsible for one-sixth of the daily uninsured. (Google “Health Care Regulation: A $169 Billion Hidden Tax”)
 Nearly 9 percent of what employers pay in annual insurance premiums subsidizes Medicaid and Medicare instead of covering employee medical expenses. (Google “Medicare, Medicaid payments drive up employee insurance costs”).
 Government programs are responsible for more than 40% of national health expenditures (Google “History of health care costs and health insurance”), and
 Amy Finkelstein of the National Bureau of Economic Research found that “Medicare was associated with a 23 percent increase in total hospital expenditures (for all ages) between 1965 and 1970, with even larger effects if her analysis is extended through 1975″ (Google “Medicare and Its Impact”).Posted by Brian T. Schwartz, Ph.D. on April 15, 2007 08:28 PM
Brian, all the sources you list are from well-known conservative think tanks. Do you not think that many would see your proposal as somewhat on the biased side?
I also take issue with the oft-repeated claim by the privateers that consumers are to blame for sky-high medical costs. With you people, it's never, ever industry that is to blame, but rather, the greedy commoners.
Get it through your head: The American people are not over-consuming services, but rather, are being prescribed over-expensive drugs and tests. We are being held hostage by an insurance system that constantly raises premiums for employees and employers, while lining the pockets of healthcare industry executives with millions upon millions of dollars.
For example, two years ago I had a sinus infection. I'm really not the sort of person who goes to the doctor when I have a cold, but finally did three weeks later when my symptoms refused to go away. I was not examined, nor was I seen by an actual doctor. Instead, a nurse practicioner (sp?) prescribed me three different kinds of medicine. I went to the drugstore, and could not believe it when the bill for my nasal spray alone came to FIFTY DOLLARS. For NASAL SPRAY. With insurance, mind you!
Brian, your proposal is yet another attack against the American people in the ever increasing class war. Yes, I said it, class war. You people won't be happy until we're reduced to serfs again, will you?
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