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I am a high school English teacher in an urban high school in Oklahoma City. I am a member of the American Federation of Teachers, Local 2309. I am a Democrat, a union activist and a worker for social justice. I also am a Christian (Congregationalist). I play chess and coach our school chess team.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Cost of Health Care Rising 3 Times Faster Than Wages

The Kaiser Family Foundation has done a national survey on the availablity of health insurance for working Americans. What they found should shock us all:

1. Only 60% of American employers offer any kind of health benefits for their employees. This is down from 69% just 5 years ago.

2. Of those offering health benefits, they found that about one-fifth of employers now offer high-deductible health plans. The plans, known as ''consumer-driven health plans," are intended to reduce consumers' use of healthcare services by shifting more costs to employees through high deductibles and co-payments.

3. The survey said premium costs are rising at about three times the rate of increase of the average worker's earnings and at about two-and-a-half times the rate of inflation.

4. The annual health insurance premium for a family of four is $10,880, the survey found, which is more than the yearly pay, before taxes, of a full-time worker earning the minimum wage.

The last stat really got to me. Imagine a single mother with 3 children (not atypical in our society). If this mother worked TWO full-time jobs making minimum wage, more than HALF of her wages would go to provide health care for her children and herself if she could even get it.The case for a Living Wage and Health Care for All has never been clearer.

(Thanks to Nancy Van Orden who sent me the article from Boston Globe writer Jeffrey Krasner from which I extracted the above facts.)

1 comment:

Blue Cross of California said...

Great blog and information, it's interesting to hear the costs of health care are rising so quickly and so many employers are dropping coverage. Health insurance is a major aspect to many and I hope we can help improve the situation.