Nations’s Health Insurance Rates Continue to Grow

By Casey Thompson

Health care in the U.S. is a growing concern, especially for the
more than 46 million Americans without health insurance. The price
of insurance is growing at five times the rate of inflation,
according to the American Federation of Labor and Congress of
Industrial Organizations Web site.

The AFL-CIO also says that 8 out of 10 uninsured people are
employed or share a household with someone who is employed.
However, because many companies are slashing health care coverage,
these people must bear the high cost of health care themselves.

Health insurance was the main issue in the Southern California
grocery worker’s strike that lasted from October 2003 to March
2004. Employees won more affordable health coverage, but had to
sacrifice other benefits and wages in order to get it.

This strike wasn’t just because the companies wanted to save
money at the expense of employees. Rising health insurance costs in
California saw the number of uninsured people increase 10.5 percent
between 2000 and 2005.

Governor Schwarzenegger recently proposed vast changes to the
current health care system in California to combat these
issues.

In January, he unveiled his plan, which includes demanding that
employers with 10 or more employees provide some health coverage
for them. This legislation would also force health care providers
to spend at least 85 percent of their revenue on patient care, tax
doctors, and demand that every Californian be insured.

“If you can’t afford it, the state will help you buy it,” he
said in an LA Times article, “But you must be insured.”

President Bush, on the other hand, has proposed increases in
revenue for big insurance companies, according to a TomPaine.com
article. The article went on to say that more federal money would
be funneled into the pockets of insurance companies through
subsidies.

According to the World Health Organization, the U.S. ranks 37th
out of 191 countries in terms of quality of health care. Despite
the high amount of money spent on health care in this country, the
WHO found that Americans receive poorer health care than people in
countries that spend far less. Top-ranking countries like France
and Italy have universal health coverage provided by the state.
These countries have lower per capita costs than the U.S., where
private providers charge far more money for less care.

Casey Thompson can be reached by e-mail at news@thepolypost.com
or by phone at (909) 869-3747.

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