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DaKCMan AP
09-09-2004, 11:16 AM
Health Premiums Rise Faster Than Income

By Kim Dixon

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Health premiums rose five times faster than U.S. workers' salaries this year, according to a survey released on Thursday, a trend analysts said is likely to throw more people into the ranks of the uninsured.

Premium increases moderated slightly, rising 11.2 percent this year, compared with a 13.9 percent jump in 2003, according to the poll of 3,000 employers by the Kaiser Family Foundation. But the pace of growth is five times that of both inflation and worker income.

"We should expect the ranks of the uninsured to tick up, a million here and a million there," said Drew Altman, president of the nonpartisan health research group. "If trends continue ... the share of Americans who have employer-sponsored health coverage will fall."

All employers -- from Corporate America to mom-and-pop operations -- are grappling with medical costs driven by steeper prices for prescription drugs, doctor visits and hospital stays. Consumers' desire for expensive new medical technologies is another primary driver of health inflation, experts said.

Health care is a hot election issue with surveys showing it a top domestic concern among voters. Both President Bush (news (http://us.rd.yahoo.com/DailyNews/manual/*http://news.search.yahoo.com/search/news?fr=news-storylinks&p=%22President%20Bush%22&c=&n=20&yn=c&c=news&cs=nw) - web sites (http://us.rd.yahoo.com/DailyNews/manual/*http://search.yahoo.com/search?fr=web-storylinks&p=President%20Bush)) and his Democratic rival, John Kerry (news (http://us.rd.yahoo.com/DailyNews/manual/*http://news.search.yahoo.com/search/news?fr=news-storylinks&p=%22John%20Kerry%22&c=&n=20&yn=c&c=news&cs=nw) - web sites (http://us.rd.yahoo.com/DailyNews/manual/*http://search.yahoo.com/search?fr=web-storylinks&p=John%20Kerry)), have plans for expanding health insurance for Americans.

"Pretty soon, people are going to vote on the issue," Altman said.

The poll comes soon after the U.S. Census Bureau (news (http://us.rd.yahoo.com/DailyNews/manual/*http://news.search.yahoo.com/search/news?fr=news-storylinks&p=%22Census%20Bureau%22&c=&n=20&yn=c&c=news&cs=nw) - web sites (http://us.rd.yahoo.com/DailyNews/manual/*http://search.yahoo.com/search?fr=web-storylinks&p=Census%20Bureau)) in August reported more people went without health insurance in 2003, with about 15.6 percent of the population, or 45 million Americans, lacking any coverage.

The percentage of people receiving health care coverage at work dropped 1 percentage point to 61 percent in 2004, down from a recent peak of 65 percent in 2001, the Kaiser study found.

"As a consequence, we estimate that there are at least 5 million fewer jobs providing health insurance in 2004 than in 2001," the report said.

Job growth has slowed in recent months, after nearly 1 million jobs were created from March to May.

Much of the new job growth is coming from small business, which is less likely to offer health insurance and is hit hardest by benefit costs, analysts said.

In 2004, 63 percent of small firms offered health coverage to workers, down from 68 percent in 2001, according to the Kaiser study.

Patient co-payments for doctor visits and prescription drugs both ticked higher, the poll found. More than half of all big companies are "very likely" to boost the amount employees pay again next year, the Kaiser poll found.

The average annual premium for a family on a preferred provider plan, the most popular managed-care plan, was $10,217 in 2004, up 10 percent from a year earlier.

In 2004, a worker paid about 28 percent of that family coverage, and the employer funded the rest.

http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=1896&ncid=1896&e=3&u=/nm/20040909/us_nm/health_premiums_dc

Duck Dog
09-09-2004, 11:22 AM
Tort reform.

Donger
09-09-2004, 11:23 AM
Health coverage should be a right!

Bleech.

Donger
09-09-2004, 11:36 AM
ROFL

Heinz Kerry: Opponents Of Health Care Plan Are 'Idiots'

But Heinz Kerry, the wife of Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry, told the (Lancaster) Intelligencer Journal that "of course, there are idiots."

Kerry's proposal includes health care subsidies for children, the unemployed, small companies and more; and government assistance to insurers and employers that keep premiums for workers down.

If Kerry is elected, Heinz Kerry predicts that opponents of his health care plan will be voted out of office. She says, "Only an idiot wouldn't like this."

Heinz Kerry stumped in Lancaster, Harrisburg and York on Wednesday, the third day of a four-day campaign swing through Pennsylvania.

On Thursday, she holds a roundtable discussion health care at a hotel in King of Prussia.

Brock
09-09-2004, 12:21 PM
ROFL

Heinz Kerry: Opponents Of Health Care Plan Are 'Idiots'

But Heinz Kerry, the wife of Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry, told the (Lancaster) Intelligencer Journal that "of course, there are idiots."

Kerry's proposal includes health care subsidies for children, the unemployed, small companies and more; and government assistance to insurers and employers that keep premiums for workers down.

If Kerry is elected, Heinz Kerry predicts that opponents of his health care plan will be voted out of office. She says, "Only an idiot wouldn't like this."

Heinz Kerry stumped in Lancaster, Harrisburg and York on Wednesday, the third day of a four-day campaign swing through Pennsylvania.

On Thursday, she holds a roundtable discussion health care at a hotel in King of Prussia.

Please, Kerry, keep that homely hag out on the campaign trail with you.

KCTitus
09-09-2004, 12:59 PM
Heinz Kerry: Opponents Of Health Care Plan Are 'Idiots'

Good lawd, that is one ugly woman...thankfully, she's got billions.

WarCry!
09-09-2004, 01:01 PM
Tort reform.

Exactly! :clap: :clap:

Mr. Kotter
09-09-2004, 01:10 PM
Tort reform.

Nah, our Party is in bed with Trial Lawyers who have many mansions and trips to Vail to pay for.....those frivolous lawsuits are a necessary engine in our recovering economy.... :banghead:

:shake:

KCWolfman
09-09-2004, 03:18 PM
They have been for 12 years. See the original Clinton plan and why they miserably addressed the issue on his original platform.

I wonder why this is news now?

Calcountry
09-09-2004, 03:46 PM
Please, Kerry, keep that homely hag out on the campaign trail with you.
Have you noticed that ever since that "separate hotel rooms" thing, she hasn't been visable?

I bet Kerry slapped her arround or worse, she slapped him arround.

ROFL

Calcountry
09-09-2004, 03:47 PM
Exactly! :clap: :clap:
right on. And unlike the Kerry campaign, W proposed doing something about Tort.