US Healthcare costs under reform

An MIT economist used the CBO’s data to estimate healthcare costs for a family of four at various income levels with and without the Senate’s bill for healthcare reform. Today, a family of four with an income of $36,275 pays 68% of their income to healthcare! That will go down to 17% with healthcare reform. After reform, everyone will pay between 17% and 23% of their income for healthcare and the poorest will pay the lowest percentage rather than the highest percentage as they do today. People who say that higher taxes are going to erase any gains from healthcare reform are going to have a tough time proving it, based on these numbers.

To compare, Europeans pay an average of 10% of their income to healthcare and their healthcare is the best in the world. The US will pay 80% more than Europeans and still have the worst healthcare of the developed world. Did you know that babies are most likely to die in the US than anywhere else in the developed world, i.e., our infant mortality rate is the highest? I’d bet most Americans would never have guessed that. Capitalism and the free market have done great things but they just can’t work in healthcare — healthcare is one of the few areas that has to be subsidized.

Healthcare costs are so high in the US that Gay and I didn’t even have healthcare from the age of 30 until 35 because we couldn’t afford it. And we’re educated people in a good industry. Granted, we were struggling to get a business off the ground at the time so it was our choice to take a cut in salary but, then again, America is all about entrepreneurs starting new businesses. How many Americans who want to start their own business aren’t doing it because they can’t afford the healthcare? Fortunately, nothing happened to either of us, but it was stressful knowing that any serious medical problem would bankrupt us. And we didn’t have kids. I can’t imagine how people feel who have kids and can’t afford healthcare.The Senate’s bill is not perfect, but it’s definitely an improvement.

The wealthy are likely going to bear some costs to paying for healthcare, but it’s worth it, in my opinion. If the wealthy don’t like it, it’s easy for them to become poor.

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