This article in today’s AAS, Report: Texas insurance premiums jump 40 percent from 2001 to 2005, points us to a study that tells us what we already know. Health insurance premiums are rising much faster than incomes.
Texas families saw their health insurance premiums soar 40 percent in five years – 10 times faster than their incomes increased, according to a report being released today by a national foundation that promotes health care improvement.
Nationally, Texas ranked third – behind Oklahoma and Idaho – in premium increases from 2001 to 2005, according to the report on employer-offered insurance by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in Princeton, N.J.
Here’s the truly horrifying part:
At the same time, Texas ranked No. 1 in the percentage of residents without insurance. In 2005-06, that figure was 27 percent. The state had 5.5 million of the nation’s 47 million uninsured people.
Health care advocates said they were not surprised by the relationship between high health insurance premiums and a high number of uninsured people. But they said they found the difference between the growth of insurance premiums and the increase in the state’s median income over the same period – 4 percent – to be alarming.
“These are horrifying numbers,” said Regina Rogoff, executive director of People’s Community Clinic, which treats uninsured people in the Austin area. “This is, for many people, the bottom line of the crisis of the uninsured in Texas. The costs don’t go away.”
Increased income inequality in the US along with many being priced out of health care does not bode well for those who need insurance or the health insurance corporations. And of course this is having the effect we’ve heard about all too often. People showing up in the emergency room (most expensive care) instead of a doctor’s office (least expensive care), and those with health insurance are picking up the tab.
People without coverage often get expensive emergency room care, and those costs get passed on as higher premiums to people with insurance, Rogoff and others said.
Taxpayers also share the tab when hospitals and governments do more to help the uninsured, said Clarke Heidrick, a member of the Travis County Healthcare District board.
“For people at the lower-income jobs, it’s just not affordable” to buy health insurance, said Heidrick, who has proposed a regional, low-cost health insurance program for small-business workers.
A spokesperson for the health insurance industry gives us their side:
“Health care insurance companies are not making a fortune,” but like any business, they deserve a profit, said Carolyn Goodwin, president of the Texas Association of Health Underwriters.
Texans want health care on demand, which has resulted in an investment in new technology by hospitals across the state, Goodwin said.
Another reason costs are increasing is that 60 percent of uninsured Texans who are eligible for government-assisted programs are not receiving the help, she said.
“Without getting too political, I think the programs don’t have the appropriate outreach,” she said.
That’s very funny. First she shows the insurance Industry’s true colors and sense of entitlement, “they deserve a profit”. Nothing about the free market there. Then she blames the government for the problem, for not having “appropriate outreach” to those who need assistance. Did you hear that whore boy Gov. Perry?
Of course the TAHU and most, if not all, Republicans and many Democrats are still trying to find a way to prop up our rotting health care system and the corporations that make money off of it at the expense of people’s health. More need to start advocating for the solution to our health care problem.