The Los Angeles Times had a good story today by Marc Lifsher, about disturbing trends in health care, both in terms of costs, in terms of employers no longer offering coverage to their workers, and about the shift of costs to workers.
The California Health Benefits Survey showed:
* Since 2002, family premiums rose 153%, more than five times the 29% increase in California’s inflation rate.
* The proportion of California employers offering coverage declined from 73% to 63% in the last two years.
* Annual premiums were higher in California than nationally for individual coverage ($5,970 versus $5,429) and family coverage ($15,724 versus $15,073).
* However, the employer contribution in California is significantly higher than the national average. Employers in California contributed $5,213 annually for single coverage and $11,921 for family coverage.
* Workers at small firms were much more likely to cover at least half of the premium for family coverage than workers at large firms.
* Workers at small firms with a deductible of $1,000 or more increased to 27% from just 7% in 2006.
These are long-terms trends, that just got worse during the economic downturn. As agreed by both myself and the head of the health plan association in the article, the light at the end of the tunnel is health reform, especially those provisions that go into effect in 2014.
Jarringly, Rep. Dave Camp, the chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, used this study and (without any evidence) blamed the health reform measure–which hasn’t even been fully implemented yet!
What’s even more outrageous that simply making stuff up, is that Rep. Camp cites the article (and me!) that makes exactly the opposite point: that the Affordable Care Act is the remedy, not the cause, to these worrying trends.
It’s one thing to make up facts, it’s another to just make the exact opposite point of the article he cites. Ridiculous.