Stephen Brill’s wonderfully researched article in Time magazine on the price-gouging and bill padding that masquerades as health care in the United States, ‘Bitter Pill: Why Medical Bills Are Killing Us’, has deservedly won praise, not least for highlighting the woeful inadequacies of Obama’s healthcare reform, The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, known popularly as Obamacare.
But what Brill does not explain – not that he needed to – was what all this bill-rigging is going to do to the average American family’s monthly health insurance costs in the coming years. That story is every bit as scary and outrageous as Brill’s account of shocking profiteering in the healthcare industrial complex because it demonstrates that, Obamacare notwithstanding, the typical American family will, in not too many years time, not be able to afford private health insurance.
The analysis of future health insurance costs was carried out in 2011 by two doctors, Richard A Young who works at the John Peter Smith Hospital at Fort Worth, Texas and Jennifer E DeVoe of the Department of Family Medicine, Oregon Health Sciences University, Portland, Oregon and it was published in the Annals of Family Medicine in its March/April 2012 edition.
Here’s the bottom line: healthcare costs are rising so fast that by the year 2033 the cost of a family health insurance premium will equal the median annual household income. Translation: in 20 years time private health insurance will consume the average family’s entire yearly income and only a fraction of American families will be able to afford decent health care.
And the net effect of Obamacare on this depressingly upward curve? To delay this crisis by a mere 12 years. Prior to the passing of the current president’s healthcare reform, the point at which health insurance costs would consume the average family’s yearly income would have arrived at 2025. At the last time of checking no-one in the world of medical academe had challenged Young and DeVoe’s conclusions.
Hopefully, long before that point is reached American voters will have come to their senses and have successfully demanded that private enterprise and profit-seeking organisations no longer have such a stranglehold on this most important part of human activity. Stress on the word ‘hopefully’.
Anyway here is the Young & DeVoe article to read in its entirety. I was going to write ‘enjoy’ but that might not be the right word: