I was in class last night and my professor quoted a statistic:
“For the first time insurance premiums for a family are now higher than the gross income of a person working full-time on the minimum wage.”
Let’s assume that this is a family of four, based on the federal minimum wage, and that these are nationally averaged insurance premiums. And for skeptics out there, let me be forthwright. I have not researched whether this claim is true, but my professor is a leading health care policy expert and is very well respected. The point is that costs have gotten prohibitive and this has monstrous ramifications. Think about one thing. If we are to have universal coverage without significant cost savings we will need a huge redistribution of wealth.
There my few friends is why creating such a system is politically so difficult.
I did some quick off the cuff calculations: Minimum wage is $5.85/hour * 40 hours *52 weeks = $12,168 annually. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation in 2006 the average annual premium for a family was $11,480. Lets assume that premiums are a bit higher in 2008 as annual increases range from 7-13% (roughly $13,000 assuming a 7% increase annually). It seems that this assertion above is true, or – at least for the most skeptical – very nearly true.