By Victoria Cepeda
President Obama’s controversial health care plan is slated to be heard and, its fate, decided by the U.S. Supreme court justices said the New York Times. One of the reasons being that key provision requiring all Americans to be insured, on the premises that if someone falls ill the rest of the country should not have to bear the expense.
Apparently, insurance companies were consulted and given their two cents by saying that only by insuring healthy people, as a mandate, they would be able to afford the spiraling costs of insuring and caring for the chronically ill. It is important to note that the challenge to the provision, across U.S. circuits courts, have been brought forward by Republicans and upheld by a handful of judges.
Here are some facts about the current situation of health care in America.
- Insurance companies have raised their premiums by 9% thus far in “anticipation of rising costs”. This is one of the culprit for many companies experiencing soaring healthcare costs.
- The only provisions of Obama’s health care plan that are in effect at the moment are “coverage for adult children up to 26 years of age and prevention services like mammogram screening”. This being the other reason employers are resilient to hire additional staff.
- Obama’s health care plan does not go into full effect until 2014. Hence the intent of Republicans to repeal it.
As per the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonprofit research group that tracks employer-sponsored health insurance on a yearly basis, the average annual premiums for employer-sponsored health insurance in 2011 are $5,429 for single coverage and$15,073 for family coverage.
Compared to 2010, premiums for single coverage are 8% higher and premiums for family coverage are 9% higher. The 9% growth rate in family premiums for 2011 is significantly higher than the 3% growth rate in 2010.
Since 2001, average premiums for family coverage have increased 113%
Since 2001, employer’s insurance contribution has more than doubled from $5,269 to $10,944 in 2011. While worker’s contribution has gone from $1,747 in 2001 to $4,129 in 2011.
Consequently, it is safe to correlate much of the current job slump we’re experiencing to soaring healthcare premiums costs. Is this just another case of corporate America profiting from the 60% of Americans insured via their employers’ health plan or just a means of health care companies to plan ahead in order to meet “unrealized/upcoming costs”? Is this fair practice?
Depending on which side of this argument you may find yourselves in, the answer will certainly vary. The outcome of this debate guarantees nothing but more strife and more stalling of our economic growth.
Hopefully, the U.S. Supreme court can put an end to the debate as to whether mandating all Americans to have health insurance is constitutional or not. Unfortunately though any outcome is unlikely to be communicated before the elections. Lastly, would the full enforcement of Obama’s health care reform help drive costs down by providing Americans with cheaper insurance options? Stay tuned.
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