Priced out of health insurance | AspenTimes.com

Priced out of health insurance

Dear Editor:

Yesterday I received a letter from my health insurance company informing me that my premiums will increase by 26 percent. Last year’s increase was about 20 percent. My family is on the verge of being priced out of health insurance.

Can anyone seriously doubt that our private health care system is in crisis? As costs rise unsustainably, the number of people who can no longer afford insurance grows. It’s becoming a “death spiral,” where fewer and fewer people remain insured, and the ones who remain must pay a higher and higher share of the costs.

Americans’ fear of “socialized medicine” is completely irrational. I lived in the UK for several years, where they have the National Health Service. It’s not perfect; you do have to wait for elective procedures – but it’s a vastly better system than the one we have in the United States. I would much rather have my health care administered by government bureaucrats than by employees of a private health insurance company whose job is to find ways to deny me coverage.

People who haven’t spent time in other countries think our health care system is the best in the world. It isn’t. We’re way down the list of developed nations for life expectancy and many other health indicators. Our fully privatized system is not only more expensive and wasteful, it produces worse outcomes.

Much has been made of the $1 trillion cost of the Obama health care plan over 10 years, as if that’s an extra $1 trillion we’re all going to have to come up with. While it will increase the federal budget by $1 trillion, it will save many trillions for Americans in their personal budgets. Personally, I would be very happy to pay, say, $5,000 more in taxes if it would save me $10,000 in health insurance and health care costs.

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Dave Reed

Carbondale