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Whatever you think of the merits of President Obama's claim that the current American health care system is "unsustainable," the assertion is indisputable when it comes to the trajectory of insurance premiums.  In a new analysis, the Center for American Progress forecasts the cost of the average family insurance policy to skyrocket from $13,000 today to over $22,000 by 2019.

Pointing to the estimate from the actuaries at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services forecast that per capita medical costs are expected to increase 71 percent over the next decade, CAP's David Cutler concluded:

This analysis shows that without health reform, average family premiums will grow to more than $22,000 by 2019, up from $13,100 today. In some states with higher-than-average premiums, family premiums will exceed $25,000 in 10 years. Of course, a family's total health care costs will be even higher once co-payments and other out-of-pocket expenses are calculated into the total.

(State-by-state projections are available here.)

As Cutler notes, failing to change the status quo means "health insurance coverage will slip out of reach for even more individuals than the 52 million Americans who today are uninsured."

As the Commonwealth Fund recently revealed in a report titled, "Failure to Protect: Why the Individual Insurance Market Is Not a Viable Option for Most U.S. Families," staggering numbers of Americans are already priced out of the increasingly concentrated, monopolistic insurance markets nationwide:

Over the last three years, nearly three-quarters of people who tried to buy coverage in this market never actually purchased a plan, either because they could not find one that fit their needs or that they could afford, or because they were turned down due to a preexisting condition.

And those costs for employers and individual consumers alike are jaw-dropping.  Americans' health care expenditures are already spiraling out of control, expanding at triple the rate of wages. That annual tab now tops 13,000 dollars. Of that, another recent analysis by the Center for American Progress found that "8 percent of families' 2009 health care premiums--approximately $1,100 a year--is due to our broken system that fails to cover the uninsured."

And with successful Republican obstruction of Democratic health care initiatives, those jaw-dropping costs would only continue their steep climb. A new report from the consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers forecast employers will face a 9% increase in health insurance costs in 2010. 42% of those business surveyed will pass at least some the new burden on to their workers. As PWC's Michael Thompson concluded:

"If the underlying costs go up by 9%, employees' costs actually go up by double digits," he said, noting that will have a "major, major impact" when many employers also are freezing or cutting pay.

For their part, Republicans' remain steadfastly committed to "kill" reform they deride as a supposed "government takeover of health care" which is "too much, too fast, too soon."  That obstructionism that the horror story that is today's U.S. health care system - 50 million uninsured, another 25 million underinsured, medical bills involved in 62% of bankruptcies, 1 in 5 Americans postponing care - will be tomorrow's health care nightmare.

** Crossposted at Perrspectives **

Originally posted to Jon Perr on Sat Jul 25, 2009 at 10:38 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Supplementing McJoan's Front Page Diary (4+ / 0-)

    Admittedly, there is a lot of overlap here with McJoan's front page diary.

    Still, I figured there's enough other useful data and information here to make the post worthwhile.

  •  Here's the problem: (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    skwimmer, marykk

    Every idea for controlling health care costs is very, very unpopular.  There are basically five ways to control health care costs:

    1. Taxing all employer-provided health benefits
    1. Public option with Medicare negotiation rates
    1. MedPAC -- changing the financial incentives of providers.  In other words, ending the ever-popular fee-for-service
    1. Incredibly high cost-sharing
    1. Basing payments to providers on comparative effectiveness research

    Personally, I favor all but 4.  You?

  •  By my calculations, (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cambridgemac, Bouwerie Boy, marykk

    the FPL in 2019 for a family of four will be $32,640. Therefore, the projected average family health insurance premium for a family of four in 2019 will be 67% of FPL, up from 59% today.

    And as compared to the median income for a family of four ($50,233 in 2007, the last year for which there are numbers), the average cost of health insurance today is roughly 26% of the gross family income. Again, by my calculations, assuming continued historical averages (median household income up only about 15% over the past 25 years), the average cost of health insurance in 2019 will be 41% of the gross family income.

    Rough, back of the napkin calculations. Impressive if even anywhere near correct.

    Now are the days we've been working for.

    by StrangeAnimals on Sat Jul 25, 2009 at 10:51:16 AM PDT

    •  Well, I suppose this comes down to a matter (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      of priorities, personally I know that myself and Senator Inhofe would rather spend 25% of our incomes on SUVs rather than health care.

      But I suppose that one's mileage may vary . ..

    •  Not even that (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      All the borrowing has supplemented incomes, something which is coming to an end now.  Once the true effects of 'globalization' is felt on wages, I think the rosy future outlook has incomes stagnating, more than likely average incomes will probably go down 10-20% over the next 25 years.  Americans have a gigantic kick in the pants cocked and loaded and pointed at their behind.  I'm probably not the only one out there that is hoping beyond hope that my income can just stay the same next year.

      Recovering Intellectual. 12 days stupid.

      by scionkirk on Sat Jul 25, 2009 at 11:21:22 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Sheesh (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    In 1995 we found ourselves in a COBRA situation and the premiums for a family of five were $1400/mo - that's just shy of $17,000 per annum. And that, of course, didn't include the co-pays etc. The $22,000 figure sounds low.

    If you think you're too small to be effective, you've never been in the dark with a mosquito.

    by marykk on Sat Jul 25, 2009 at 11:49:03 AM PDT

  •  By 2019? We pay nearly that already! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Where do they come up with these amounts?  Average I suppose.  Try keeping your kids covered after they reach whatever your policy's "age out" is.  $500 per month per kid, $1100 per month for the married one.  Plus our policy.  And one more to age out next year for another $500 per month.

    $22000 per year?  We're there now!

    If you want to know the real answer: Just ask a Mom.

    by tacklelady on Sat Jul 25, 2009 at 12:26:28 PM PDT

  •  Ours is already 18000.00 (0+ / 0-)

    and increasing yearly at a far faster rate than that.  It will likely be 22,000 in 18 months.  That's a non smoking family of 5 with no priors, minimal coverage.

    "War is the calculated and condoned slaughter of human beings". Harry Patch, age 109, WWI veteran.

    by skwimmer on Sat Jul 25, 2009 at 12:55:06 PM PDT

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