Costs Put into Perspective

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.


2 responses to “Costs Put into Perspective

  1. Doesn’t this make you feel helpless and hopeless? Redistribution of wealth? C’mon, is that really possible? Is that really gonna happen? Ugh, this feels heavy.

    Lucas, your voice on this blog is a prophetic one. Prophets are often called upon to proclaim hard truths and that is exactly what you are doing here. May God be with you.

  2. Wow that is scary… and makes the need for universal health care (in SOME form) all the more urgent!

    And, thanks to your calculations, I just realized that my stipend is just over the minimum wage. So basically I’ve learned that I could earn the same (or more) flipping burgers.

    More importantly, I am now even more aware of how blessed Steven and I are that his job provides health care. Because otherwise, I doubt we could afford it.

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