Health Insurance Premiums To Rise By 2020

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture
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Alarming new numbers released by the Commonwealth Fund on expected insurance premium increases in the coming decade are yet another reminder that genuine healthcare reform, in particular Medicare for all, is the most effective way to rein in costs said the nation's largest organization of nurses today.

Private insurance premiums for employer-sponsored coverage will rise by 94 percent by 2010, on top of the 119 percent increase since 1999, according to the Commonwealth Fund report. The increases in premiums from 1999 to 2008 were four times greater than the rise in family incomes, even prior to the current recession.

"These findings are merely the shocking state of premiums, not even including a concurrent jump in out-of-pocket costs for deductibles, co-pays, and other fees. It's no wonder that medical bills now are the leading factor in 62 percent of bankruptcies, and half of American families are rationing medical care because they can't afford it," noted Deborah Burger, RN, co-president of the 86,000-member California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee.

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"Yet, rather than show any compassion for how their price gouging practices have harmed so many families, the insurance giants are planning to continue to plunder the American people with more huge increases in premium prices," Burger noted.

"Such practices should remind us why there is such a desperate need for real reform. Unfortunately, there is little in the major plans being discussed to crack down on the pricing practices of the insurance industry. The most effective approach is the one that has worked in other industrial countries, a single-payer or national system," said Burger.

"Congress and the administration still has time to pass legislation that will protect American families facing rationing, denial of care, and bankruptcy due to the disgraceful insurance industry policies. Medicare for all remains the most universal, most cost-effective solution to this crisis," Burger said.

In a commentary today in the Times of London, CNA/NNOC Executive Director Rose Ann DeMoro noted how the Obama administration has had trouble mobilizing supporters and activists for a more tepid plan. "It is still possible" to achieve broader reform, she noted. "But time is running out."

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