Sunday, September 29, 2019

Medicare for All too "costly?" It's cheap vs what people and business will pay in 2020

Some not-good news hit the wires this week as open enrollment season begins. It looks like health insurance costs will continue to go up in 2020.
Large companies predict the total cost of workplace health-care coverage to reach an average of $15,375 next year, according the National Business Group on Health. That’s up from $14,642 in 2019.

This figure combines workers’ and employers’ spending on insurance. Employees are expected to shoulder about $4,500 in costs next year, including out-of-pocket spending, the group found.

The organization, which represents large employers’ perspectives on health-care policy, polled 147 large employers to get their perspectives on health-care trends….

Those workers paid a total of $7,726 in 2018. Of that, $3,020 came from cost-sharing, including deductibles, coinsurance and copayments.

“Employer premiums are going up; they pay more each year,” said Cynthia Cox, vice president at the Kaiser Family Foundation. “But so do the employees and their families.”
Also, it’s not just active workers that might get squeezed more in 2020 due to health care costs. Note this article, which mentions that not only are seniors likely to have a lower cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for their Social Security checks, but they’re the ones that are paying much higher prices for their drugs and other health services.
The 1.6% adjustment would amount to roughly $23 a month for someone receiving the average retirement benefit of $1,460, Johnson said. COLAs have been averaging 1.4% over the last decade, half of the average 3% it was between 2000 and 2009. Last year’s COLA was the first big hike since 2012, when it was 3.6% (in 2018, COLA was 2%, and in 2017, it was 0.3%).

But the significant drop in COLA between 2019 and 2020 may not be the worst part. Social Security as it stands bases its adjustment on CPI-W, the consumer-price index and buying patterns of younger workers. But young workers and retirees don’t spend their money the same way. “They will spend less on health care and perhaps housing, and those are the two expenses that really make a difference for older Americans,” Johnson said. Young workers might spend between 7% to 10% of their money on health care, compared with older Americans, who can expect to spend 12% to 25% on it, she noted.
But Medicare for All will be “too costly” for people because it raises taxes? Those few extra dollars in taxes seems small compared to the $15,000 employers are paying, and $4,500 that their employees are shelling out for.

If Acela-corridor journalists want to ask proponents of Medicare for All or similar single-payer plans "How will you pay for it?", they're looking at it the wrong way. Our economy and everyday people are paying higher prices under the current system today, especially those in the middle and upper-middle classes, because they are less likely to have insurance through Obamacare exchanges, or to get much of their Obamacare insurance written off through tax credits.

And I can't see it getting much better for the old or the employed over the next 2 years as the economy slows and corporations find reducing health benefits might be a good source of "savings" by offloading the cost onto workers and seniors. This needs to be hit hard by electoral candidates over the next 13 months, because those concerns are real.

1 comment:

  1. Precisely. Business and people get killed by the fix-the-game-for-health-insurance corporations policy. Now, Elizabeth Warren continues backing off MediCare for All commitment, as further assurance to Dem Party establishment that fears MediCare for All as much as it fears Bernie and Tulsi's slaps at the military-industrial complex. Warren calls Medicare for All a mere "framework" now. See