More Americans Insured, But U.S. Per-Capita Health Care Costs Still Globally Bonkers

Our World in Data offers a useful series of charts on global trends in financing healthcare. Among theit data, authors Esteban Ortiz-Ospina and Max Roser offer one chart that shows that, since enactment of the Affordable Care Act, the percentage of Americans without health insurance has dropped to a 53-year historic low:

Thanks, Obama!

The Affordable Care Act has not changed our status as a stunning outlier in annual per-capita health expenditure and life expectancy:

Ortiz-Ospina and Rosen, 2016.
Ortiz-Ospina and Rosen, 2016.

These spending figures, adjusted for inflation and regional purchasing power, show that we Americans more than twice as much on health care each year as the average in the next 24 biggest health-spending countries and still die 2.8 years sooner than the average in those countries.

We spend more and live less. Wow.

For another perspective, throw the most recent OECD health spending data and WHO life expectancy data together and divide:

Country Life expectancy (LE) Health Spending per capita Years of LE per $1000 $ per year of LE
United States 78.94 $9,024.21 8.75 $114.32
Switzerland 82.85 $6,786.57 12.21 $81.91
Norway 81.75 $6,081.00 13.44 $74.39
Netherlands 81.3 $5,276.60 15.41 $64.90
Germany 80.84 $5,119.21 15.79 $63.33
Sweden 81.96 $5,065.16 16.18 $61.80
Ireland 81.15 $5,001.32 16.23 $61.63
Austria 81.34 $4,896.00 16.61 $60.19
Denmark 80.55 $4,857.03 16.58 $60.30
Belgium 80.59 $4,522.04 17.82 $56.11
Canada 81.96 $4,495.69 18.23 $54.85
Luxembourg 82.21 $4,478.97 18.35 $54.48
France 82.37 $4,366.99 18.86 $53.02
Australia 82.25 $4,206.85 19.55 $51.15
Japan 83.59 $4,152.37 20.13 $49.68
United Kingdom 81.06 $3,971.39 20.41 $48.99
Iceland 82.06 $3,896.93 21.06 $47.49
Finland 81.13 $3,871.39 20.96 $47.72
New Zealand 81.4 $3,537.26 23.01 $43.46
Italy 82.69 $3,206.83 25.79 $38.78
Spain 83.08 $3,053.07 27.21 $36.75
Slovenia 80.52 $2,598.91 30.98 $32.28
Portugal 80.72 $2,583.84 31.24 $32.01
Israel 82.15 $2,547.40 32.25 $31.01
Czech Republic 78.28 $2,386.34 32.80 $30.48
South Korea 82.16 $2,361.44 34.79 $28.74
Greece 81.29 $2,220.11 36.62 $27.31
Slovakia 76.71 $1,970.52 38.93 $25.69
Hungary 75.87 $1,796.60 42.23 $23.68
Estonia 77.24 $1,724.51 44.79 $22.33
Lithuania 73.97 $1,720.84 42.98 $23.26
Chile 81.5 $1,688.52 48.27 $20.72
Poland 77.25 $1,624.87 47.54 $21.03
Costa Rica 79.4 $1,393.95 56.96 $17.56
Russia 70.37 $1,368.75 51.41 $19.45
Latvia 74.19 $1,295.01 57.29 $17.46
South Africa 57.18 $1,146.47 49.87 $20.05
Mexico 76.72 $1,052.66 72.88 $13.72
Turkey 75.16 $990.19 75.90 $13.17
Colombia 73.99 $964.50 76.71 $13.04
China 75.78 $730.52 103.73 $9.64
Indonesia 68.89 $302.12 228.02 $4.39
India 68.01 $267.41 254.33 $3.93

Out of 43 nations, we are the only one getting less than ten years of life expectancy out of every $1,000 we spend annually on health care. Or, flip numerator and denominator, and we are the only nation out of this big group that spends more than $100 annually on health care for each year of life that we can expect to enjoy.

Or here’s a kicker: multiply life expectancy by annual health care spending: at current rates, each American spends over $712,000 on health care to make it just about 79 years. The Swiss spend $562K and get four more years to hang out with grandkids. Those darned socialist Canadians spend $368K and live to be almost 82.

The Affordable Care Act has its advantages (it is crazy policy, yes, but it beats the status quo ante). But the United States is still not getting the bang for the health care buck that countries with much stronger public options (or mandates!) do.


63 Responses to More Americans Insured, But U.S. Per-Capita Health Care Costs Still Globally Bonkers

  1. Great article Cory, the health care is not the problem. Look at those countries on the list and see how the populous lives and thrives. The problem is diet. Michelle Obama (I will miss her) was spot on with her dietary ideas for our school children. It was ridiculed by the republican as so leftist that it made little sense. Death by mouth has a way of proving her correct. We eat to much junk to even grasp what healthy is. You are what you eat and we are fat asses that are so sediment, we think we are active while our bellies expand. Take away the corn syrup along with the tons of sugar and salt and the reconstituted nonsense we call flavor in our diets and we just might come out of our coma to actually live. Also, as an extra, healthy foods make for a healthy mind.

  2. I think most of us understand that health care is different than health insurance.

    What our country really needed was a way to reduce the costs for health care. Instead we got an elaborate system designed to provide more people with health insurance. It seems that we have attacked the wrong problem.

  3. Heck—and I was going to have pizza rolls for lunch.

    How long will it take to turn our cultural diet train around, Jerry? Are we seeing a healthy trend now, with the apparent decline of pop? Can we afford to go to a single-payer system if Americans are going to keep filling their bellies with bad food?

  4. Porter Lansing

    It’s not Democrats that want to make money off sick people.

  5. Nothing wrong with pizza rolls as long as you know when to say when. I think that once we get our finances together regarding decent wages for all, we can start. It is pretty easy to look at what is good for us in the garden or in the market and then have the time to prepare it while affording it as well. Sounds weird, but it is much easier and much cheaper to just put a frozen snack in the microwave than to consider actually cooking something that is just as filling and actually good for you. Working two and three jobs is the catalyst for being to tired to care for bodies health needs.

    A single payer system is not free. In most if not all of the countries listed, there is not only healthcare, but also disability coverage and unemployment coverage included. Sick leave, maternity leave and family needs leave as well. When you do not have the anxiety or fear for your future, you can do surprisingly well and you tend to not eat in excess. Also, the education system with the food provided in the facility is a little more health oriented than here. More vegetables, pasta, rice and less sugar and salt are key to a good start as little humanoids.

  6. Donald Pay

    That chart on costs versus life expectancy seems to diverge from other developed countries right around the time that Reagan assumed the Presidency. Something went really wrong during the Reagan years, and put us on bad trajectory.

  7. I just saw a report today that said the number of deaths to middle-aged white people has skyrocketed since 1999, and that poisoning (alcohol and drug abuse) is the main culprit. (the study specifically said white deaths)

    Come on America, we should be able to get ahead of Cost Rica – 79.4 for life expectancy! We’re supposed to have the greatest healthcare system in the world!
    Notice all the countries that have higher life expectancies have universal healthcare and are less expensive. Go figure.

  8. Cory, Gov Dayton, who has been a staunch supporter for universal healthcare, spoke out last week and said the ACA needs serious reforms and is no longer affordable. He’s reaching out to the GOP to come to the table with the DFL and get it fixed.

  9. “It’s not Democrats that want to make money off sick people.”

    Interesting non-sequitur.

  10. Governor Dayton as well as the other 50 plus governors should do one thing to make health care affordable https://www.statnews.com/pharmalot/2016/10/07/ariad-riases-leukemia-drug-price/ Kick big pharma to the curb and let the negotiating begin. They do not want to cure cancer because it is such a money maker, gotta keep those investors fat and happy while not rocking the boat to much.

  11. So Cory on the other site your going to raise taxes.

  12. Porter Lansing

    OK, Dicta … Republicans want to make money off sick people. That’s why we have such poor cost/ benefits ratio on healthcare insurance.

  13. So, just to make sure I understand your point: the concept of health insurance is a republican one insofar as the insurance company seeks to be profitable? And it is because of this republican insurance that cost to benefit ratio is bad, and no other reason like sedentary lifestyles, etc? Cool story, bro. Glad to see you thought it through.

  14. Porter Lansing

    The point is that single payer is cheaper, better and being kept from us because big Insurance is donating fortunes to Republicans to obstruct it.

  15. I agree, Jerry. There is a lot of unethical money to be made off of Rx drugs and sick people. We like to pride ourselves on being a good Christian country but how decent is it to profit off of and bankrupt a family for getting sick? It happens everyday and a lot of these people have health insurance.
    Universal healthcare is the way to go.

  16. Cut corporate and farm subsidies in half, use that money for Medicare expansion and you would have most of the cost paid for right there.

  17. Don Coyote

    @Jerry: “Governor Dayton as well as the other 50 plus governors…”

    Really? Since when have there been more than 50 governors? You must be living in the same universe as Obama does claiming he had visited all 57 states in 2008.

  18. Geesh, I kind of thought that everyone had gone through a civics class, my bad. It is the price I pay for being a geezer. Yes, there actually are over 50 governors. You see, we have Puerto Rico, The Virgin Islands…dozes off…Guam.. Add them up dude, what ya got? Over 50 according to my math that was taught in public school no less. You must have been home schooled. BTW, what Obama said was that he..oh well.. read it if you can. https://www.truthorfiction.com/obama-57-states/

  19. Don Coyote

    @cah:”The Affordable Care Act has not changed our status as a stunning outlier in annual per-capita health expenditure and life expectancy”

    And why would it? ACA Marketplace policies only became effective in 2014 and only half of the states had expanded medicaid by that time. Why would one year of data move the needle on statistics covering 44 years?

  20. This is an issue that I really do believe the GOP is willing to allow citizens to suffer for political gain. The ACA needs reform/tweaks/adjustments like any legislation of that magnitude; the GOP will not allow that because then they run the risk that “Obamacare” might be a success. They also have vested politically to the failure of the US health system for party political gain.

    Seeing political opportunism has cost US citizens their health on this issue.

  21. Obamacare is bad. It is bad.

  22. republicans under daugaard leadership are KILLING 30-90 SOUTH DAKOTANS ANNUALLY AS THEY CONTINUE TO TWIST IN THE WIND REFUSING TO expand Medicaid. 4 years now, going on 5 years.

    they represent the deplorable grudz’s of the state

  23. @leslie, the reason that Mr. Grudznick and the Coyote complain about Obamacare is because they can afford to pay the high premiums associated with not expanding Medicaid. Folks like these two love to see the working poor twist in the wind while making exhilarating noise about healthcare being a privilege not a right. As card carrying members of the right wing this fits perfectly into their scheme of how things should be. When there are no more insurance companies to cover these privileged ones, they may start to think Daugaard may have, just may have made a mistake. Of course, they will then blame the Black dude 4 or 5 years from now.

  24. link on how and why Medicaid Expansion saves money for those who do not qualify for subsidies http://healthaffairs.org/blog/2016/08/26/aspe-medicaid-expansion-lowers-marketplace-premiums/

  25. Porter Lansing

    Good one, Jerry. ?????

  26. Porter Lansing

    Another good one, Nick. Being an owner several times over was invaluable when I became a unionist and then an elected official in The Teamsters Union. I knew all the ways employers disrespect their workers … like using an elected office to cut their pay.

  27. Yup Jerry, we gotta get insurance companies out of the medical business. imagine how many they have killed? I myself had to take them to the supreme court for bad faith denial of coverage for 5 years. ouch. cost me hundreds of thousands of dollars. they had no defense. they just thought the “bully” approach would make me go away. imagine the effect on productivity this has nationwide. Trump would call it “good business.” no different than Kochs/deniers’ manipulation of climate science. we coud have turned away from fossil fuels after the 1970s gulf oil shortage. Instead Mobil Oil ect. made obscene profits for another 45 years.

    Obama turned this leaky old republic ship of state. Hillary can get us ordinary 300 million plus people to a safe haven where they can afford to stay healthy, work a full and productive life, and enjoy their grand children (translation: help raise them, like a VILLAGE does).

    DO NOT WASTE YOUR VOTE. We know SD will support trump, but we can nail these “down ticket bastards locally!!” we’ll deal with daugaard’s obstruction later if he see’s a big Democratic win in this cherry red state.

  28. Don Coyote

    @Jerry: Parse it that way if you want but the implication is governors of “states” since ACA coverage requirements don’t apply to US territories because the HHS does not consider them “states” and the ACA market rules don’t apply to the territories.

    “Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands aren’t considered “states” for most ACA insurance purposes, and people who buy and sell in the health insurance marketplace there aren’t subject to most Obamacare mandates”

    http://blog.constitutioncenter.org/2014/07/five-u-s-territories-become-obamacare-free-with-a-catch/

  29. Don Coyote

    Great article in Forbes on why “life expectancy is an appealingly simplistic, but deeply flawed, way to think about the quality of a country’s health-care system.”

    “If you really want to measure health outcomes, the best way to do it is at the point of medical intervention. If you have a heart attack, how long do you live in the U.S. vs. another country? If you’re diagnosed with breast cancer? In 2008, a group of investigators conducted a worldwide study of cancer survival rates, called CONCORD. They looked at 5-year survival rates for breast cancer, colon and rectal cancer, and prostate cancer. I compiled their data for the U.S., Canada, Australia, Japan, and western Europe. Guess who came out number one?”

    USA! USA! USA!

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/theapothecary/2011/11/23/the-myth-of-americans-poor-life-expectancy/#78c825a63b35

  30. happy camper

    “Universal healthcare is the way to go.” Just what is that? Do you mean single payer? Then where is the competition to keep costs down and fairly pay physicians.

    They are having so much trouble across the pond physician strikes by junior doctors, delays of services, etc. Once touted as “the answer” it’s coming undone over there.

    My sister in California had to sign a form with her doc because they would not accept Obamacare. What? I didn’t believe her, but turns out in that state even though it was a Blue Cross policy the reimbursement rates on those individual plans is much less than other Blue Cross plans. You would think all negotiated rates from Blue Cross to their providers would be the same for all their policies, but not so, so even though they have “coverage” it’s in name only cause there are so few who will accept those low payments.

    Obamacare has got some big problems. If Hillary wins and the Dems (almost said we forgot I am a Libertarian now) get congress back, then maybe this can be fixed. It badly needs fixin.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/us-britain-healthcare-idUSKCN11U0QK
    http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/doctors-boycotting-californias-obamacare-exchange/article/2540272

  31. Parsing it will not be necessary. “The ACA also provided the territories with additional federal funding for their Medicaid programs. Section
    2005 provided total of $6.3 billion in additional federal funds for the territories, to be allocated by the
    Secretary and available to be drawn down between July 2011 and September 2019. Section 1323 provided
    an additional $1 billion to the territories, $925 million of which was directed to Puerto Rico and the
    remainder of which was allocated by the Secretary.7
    These funds are available to be drawn down between
    July 2011 and December 2019, but only after a territory has exhausted its funds under Section 2005 (CMS
    2016a). Total additional funding for each territory ranged from $198 million to $6.3 billion (Table 2). Each
    territory must contribute a non-federal share to access these funds.” There is that ACA popping up at the most inoportune time to show involvement. I was delighted to see that you actually took the interest in seeing that governors exist in these territories that have a say in the ACA.
    https://www.macpac.gov/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/Medicaid-and-CHIP-in-the-Territories.pdf

  32. Don Coyote

    Only relevant to Medicaid and SCHIP and has nothing to do with ACA Marketplace policies, qualifying individual accounts or qualifying group insurance. Medicaid and SCHIP are stand alone programs and didn’t need ACA enabling legislation for expansion. In fact mandatory Medicaid expansion was ruled unconstituitional and severed from the ACA in Sebelius vs NFIB. The fact remains that ACA requirements aren’t applicable to US territories because HHS does not consider them “states”. You lose.

  33. Governors win baby. The ACA is still relevant as it rules Medicaid and that is how 30,000 folks on the Virgin Island are covered, they win! Who has the say on the funding received from the ACA, why the governors of course you silly rabbit. Curses says you, foiled again. Back to the ACME book on bewilderment for you.

  34. happy camper

    There’s always going to be a delicate difficult balance of what we do for ourselves, each other, deciding who is truly needy when some have so much. Fighting over fair is a just cause which is absolutely not black or white.

  35. Washington Examiner is where Rush gets his rush https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Washington_Examiner

    Man your Reuters link on what we call interns here, is very good. Interns work very very hard here in the United States and do not get paid all that good for all the time put in. It is good to see a union do its job. In this case, the UK, but they got it settled. Very cool. Hey, speaking of Obama, did you notice on the same page that the battle for Mosul has begun? Trumpy has been saying that Obama did not know what the hell he was doing. Turns out the Black dude rides again. Sorry for the interruption, but could not help but noticing. And the Black dude did it with allies, who the hell would have thunk it that this could be done without so much American troop involvement.

  36. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of the Virgin Islands must not have gotten the memo about the ACA Coyote https://www.bcbsusvi.com/news/ How the insurance works there is much the same as it does right here in good old South Dakota. Can we just let it go now or what? There are more than 50 governors that help to determine health care costs for their jurisdictions, simple stuff.

  37. happy, there is no such thing as Obamacare insurance. That does not exist any more in California than it does in South Dakota. The insurance policies offered there are through insurance companies, same as here. The folks who get subsidies get them through the ACA (Obamacare) as they qualify because of income. Providers are what is the driving force behind health insurance and that is what is going on here with Avera and Sanford, the last two standing with Wellmark shutting down individual policies the 1st of January. All in all, California has a pretty good showing of doc in the networks. http://www.shadac.org/state/ca

  38. Don Coyote

    @Jerry: “Governors win baby. The ACA is still relevant as it rules Medicaid and that is how 30,000 folks on the Virgin Island are covered, they win!”

    Wrong again. Enabling legislation gives the power to Social Security Administration and state governments (legislatures). Better go find a bigger shovel or stop digging.

    “Medicaid is a medical assistance program jointly financed by state and federal governments for low income individuals and is embodied in 42 U.S.C. §1396 et seq. It was first enacted in 1965 as an amendment to the Social Security Act of 1935. Today, Medicaid is a major social welfare program and is administered by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, formerly known as the Health Care Financing Administration.”

    https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/medicaid

  39. Don Coyote

    @Jerry: “Blue Cross and Blue Shield of the Virgin Islands must not have gotten the memo about the ACA”

    Blue Cross/Blue Shield is free to offer private health care policies in the Virgin Islands as long as they comply with Virgin Island laws. It appears they are doing so. However these are not ACA marketplace policies nor do they qualify for ACA subsidies because the Virgin Islands are not a “state”.

    From Obamacarefacts.com:

    “I currently live in the US Virgin Islands and I see there is no coverage option here however, I used to reside in NY and have a family address there. Can I qualify for coverage?

    Answer
    You can only use the Marketplace if you are a lawfully Permanent Resident or meet other immigration guidelines. The Virgin Islands doesn’t offer Marketplace coverage, but you can find your options on CMS.Gov.

    The rules for Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands (which are considered territories and not states for the purposes of the ACA) have already changed more than once. Currently some benefits, rights, and protections apply while others don’t. This is all subject to change, especially in light of the recent ruling on subsidies which downplayed the importance of the word “state”.”

    http://obamacarefacts.com/questions/marketplace-coverage-for-us-virgin-islands/

    And from Healthcare.gov:

    “Residents of a U.S. territory aren’t eligible to apply for health coverage using the federal or state Marketplace unless they also qualify as a resident within the service area of a Marketplace.

    Residents of U.S. territories are not required to have health coverage under the health care law.”

    https://www.healthcare.gov/quick-guide/eligibility/

    Ohh, noze! Another flat tire for you.

  40. “Enabling legislation gives the power to Social Security Administration and state governments (legislatures)” Exactly correct. In most states, the governor has the control over the legislature as they want to work with making the state better. This describes how Medicaid works hand in hand with state and federal input, could not agree more. The governors also meet with the insurance companies as Wellmark did with governor Daugaard when they announced they were pulling the plug on the ACA here in South Dakota, so there is a say in what is going on insurance wise.
    In Wellmark’s case, the ACA did not have anything to do with Marketplace subsidies. It had everything to do with the ACA compliance though. It is against the law to market a major medical plan that does not comply with the ACA guidelines that were established when the ACA became law. Wellmark was able to continue servicing the grandfathered and the grand mothered plans, but cannot add new members to either.

    The Virgin Islands does not offer anything in the Marketplace, that is a fact. However, Blue Cross of the Virgin Islands does offer ACA compliant plans there that are not subsidized to those who do not qualify for the Medicaid Expansion courtesy of the ACA.

    No where did I ever state that residents of the US territories were required to have Marketplace insurance. I did show you that the insurance being offered by the carrier Blue Cross and Blue Shield of the Virgin Islands was ACA compliant for those who wished to purchase insurance without a subsidy. The insurance company still has to follow ACA rules in order to market just like they right here in South Dakota with un-subsidized plans. It makes my heart soar like an eagle to see that you have researched this, but saddens me that you have not really read all to understand it. That has always seemed to be the big problem with those who are not the ones who need the subsidies the most. Folks like yourself that can afford to keep paying the high premiums do not understand why everyone cannot afford the premiums like you can. That disconnect is what republicans want to keep going on. The more you say it does not work, the better they feel as they want the old way back. When folks know that government can work for them, it makes your party seem obsolete and petty. Don’t worry, Trump is banging it around like a pinata to then hang it out to dry.

    There are still over 50 governors as of right now. Turns out the tire was not flat after all, just tired.

  41. Daniel Buresh

    Even with single payer, we would be looking at higher expenses. A person must consider our geography. IF we want efficient, cost effective healthcare, we need to go single payer but then we also need to realize that we can’t provide that same level of care across all areas of our country. Replicating services every 40 miles is not going to work in the US. European solutions followed to a T are still going to cost us a lot more.

  42. If you consider how successfully Medicare works, you will see holes in your argument Mr. Buresh. What we are looking at is an aging populace that is heading that way regardless of how much we want to hold it back. Medicare and Medicaid will be the way of the future for us all. We had better work on finding the solutions to solve the problem of our healthcare more sooner than later.

    The caregivers will be who we will need to educate through a robust healthcare system. So in addition to providing healthcare services, we will also need to find the way to insure and fund those who will care for the populace. The solution is a hybrid European way of delivering health services. There are plenty of rural areas in Europe that are much like here. These areas have a very good delivery system for healthcare. BTW, not everyone in these countries qualifies for universal healthcare as you have to pay into social security in order to receive benefits. Sounds kind of familiar, because in our system, you must be here lawfully for at least 5 years to qualify for Part B Medicare. No one here illegally can receive Medicare Part B.

    In order to achieve the goal of healthcare, there has to be a partnership between state and federal agencies to make the whole process as seamless as possible. Traditional Medicare for all who qualify, is the answer. No Medicare Advantage plans will suffice the population as a whole, only Traditional Medicare as it was set in place in the early 1990’s will work for all who qualify.

  43. I know what you’re trying to say Daniel, but I don’t really buy that. Medicare is cost effective and proven to work across the country. Expanding Medicare would be the most popular thing to do. It works, the program is already in place and people that are one in it are very satisfied with it, but there are riches to be made by the one percent with expensive private health insurance.
    Remember, Obama and the Democrats fought for a public option which would have reigned in prices some, but the ‘pubs were deadset against that. To blame the skyrocketing premiums totally on Obama is disingenuous.

  44. Expanding Medicare would help the economy tremendously. Imagine what easing the burden on not having to worry about paying those high premiums and deductibles every month plus thousands in medical bills when you do get sick would do for everyday average Americans. Plus, a good percentage of the cost would already be paid for by cutting corporate welfare and making people like Donald Trump pay his federal taxes.

  45. happy camper

    There are definitely Obamacare policies or call them ACA compliant. Wellmark BCBS is getting out of that business entirely in South Dakota but for now keeping the older individual plans. I’m grandfathered for 2017 but the future is unknown. Just got off the phone with my insurance broker:

    Grandfathered BCBS plan: $420.40 a month $2,500 deductible
    Avera: $723.00 a month $2,500 a month deductible
    Sandford: $785 a month $3,500 a month deductible

    And because Avera and Sandford couldn’t come to terms they do not have an open access network so you must go only to those systems.

    So why the huge premium increases? My broker told me BCBS had 80 people incur $100,000,000 of losses in the ACA plans. One hundred million. New members got on the plan, got services, then dropped it. With a utility shut off notice they don’t even have to pay the penalty, so I am paying for this big time, because even my individual plan went up to help pay for those losses, and if BCBS drops my grandfathered plan I’ll have no choice in South Dakota other than Avera or Sandford, so for me this is not theoretical.

    I budgeted to retire early but not with a premium of $8,600 a year!

    It’s not affordable!!!

  46. And you know if Obama and the Dems had had their public option passed with the ACA, there would have been competition that would have driven down prices some, Happy.
    The republicans are party to blame for rising premiums b/c of this.

  47. Happy, may I ask if that is a family plan or just you on it?

  48. Medicare for all – single payer. Then everyone gets preventative medicine and treatment which costs far, far less than treating disease and conditions via ER visits. You can pay for years and years of medications for the cost of one ambulance ride, but we continue to ignore the health of those who can’t afford it.

    Medicare works well because the government negotiates rates – and our elderly population actually utilizes more healthcare dollars than children or average aged adults, so if it works well for the elderly, it can work for all of us at a lower average cost.

    Our nation spends billions upon billions on healthcare insurance annually… and for what? All of that money does nothing to promote actual healthcare. Much of it just ends up funding the insurance companies themselves who are for profit institutions.

    Enough is enough. For all the fear mondering I hear about the public single payer systems in the UK and Canada I never seem to hear the actual citizens voting to end them. Seems the people who have national healthcare seem to actually like it. What a concept.

    Oh… and yes, before you ask, I am willing to pay a bit more in taxes to know that my fellow citizens are healthier and that they don’t need to stress about how to afford their insurance premiums or that they don’t need to fear a major medical event that could result in them losing their savings or their homes etc. We are all in this together- it shouldn’t be this hard.

  49. I don’t know what “fear mondering” is, but it does have a certain ring to it. Might make a good name for a band.

  50. happy camper

    Oh I know, the Republicans refusal to work with the Dems is criminal. This is a single person’s policy age 52. The increases have been monstrous, and I supported first single payer then the ACA, but I’m left holding the bag here, and the role that insurance companies are supposed to play as a check and balance against providers won’t work if Avera and Sanford remain separate. They’re not negotiating down prices with their own systems so they are somewhat unchecked now.

  51. I would absolutely pay more taxes also for Medicare expansion.

  52. happy camper

    The UK system has been in crisis for quite some time.

    “Almost every area of U.K. state-provided treatment from cancer to the emergency room and midwifery is complaining of overcrowding and underfunding. With an aging and growing population increasing the burden on healthcare — and a government which is trying to keep a lid on its spending — the NHS appears to have an impossible task.”

    http://www.cnbc.com/2015/01/13/lesson-for-obamacare-uk-health-service-in-crisis.html

  53. happy, the reason your premiums have skyrocketed on your old is because that is the plan before ACA compliance regulations even kicked in. Regardless of how much you wish to blame the Black dude, your premiums have nothing to do with Obamacare nor its compliance with the ACA, hence the grand-mothered name to your current policy. Your before ACA is further proof of why their was healthcare reform in the first place. In the second place, your old plan did not have any protection to you on what your lifetime out of pocket would be, 2 million over a lifetime was just shown directly from your broker, as not that difficult to hit.

  54. happy camper

    You have it entirely backwards Jerry. My grandfathered plan is $420.40 a month and a comparable ACA plan $723.00. It’s a good plan with no lifetime max, but even it went way up to help pay for the monumental increases of the ACA plans.

    Granted some people will get subsidies, but at an income of $50,000 which is not all that much, almost no subsidy if any, so someone like me has been put in a much worse situation because of the ACA.

  55. The situation in the UK is much the same here, we just think we will stay young all the time, only happens in the movies. More government is what is needed to provide a shared cost for healthcare.

    Medicare is not free. We pay $121.80 per month for the Part B, We then pay anywhere from $79.00 per month for a basic Medica plan to and enhanced medical plan for $157.00 per month. Then if you add the Part D you would pay a combination cost of basic plan $101.40-$128.60 or for the enhanced plan $185.40-$208.60 per month.

    Add them together and you could be paying upwards of $225.00 per month. Beats the hell out of what you have and there is no deductible, with office copays and prescription drugs. How is that for Medicare for all?

  56. My idea would cut your crappy plan in at least half. How do you like them apples?

  57. Easy answer to UKs funding problem. Raise those taxes. It still beats going bankrupt and losing the house from healthcare unaffordability in the US.

  58. Taxes for healthcare instead of War!

  59. Correct Jenny, the UK problem was Cameron and his conservative party. They also did a number on public transportation to siphon more money off for the wealthy. I often wonder when republican rank and file will finally figure out how their party has dumbed them down to believing that austerity is an answer to societies issues. They pay huge sums of money for a health insurance plan to a company that builds a quarter of a billion dollar office center and laughs all the way to the bank with the premiums from the suckers. Here is what they purchased, pretty cool man for a no risk deal, kind of sounds like an EB5 worksheet project. Line up the marks, scare the hell out of them with promises and then keep it up to make them believe that they actually have something tangible. http://publications.iowa.gov/9298/1/bs1107.pdf In the meantime, the plans they have are crap compared to real affordable health coverage like Medicare, and they think that they are living the dream. Old guys already know the game plan and are damn glad to finally be out of the rat race of health worries. I am thankful each day that I have the VA, also a plan much like Medicare.

  60. Meanwhile over at UnitedHealthcare (the nation’s largest insurer):

    “UnitedHealth Group has hiked its 2016 earnings forecast again after its profit swelled 23 percent to nearly $2 billion in the third quarter”.

    And of course they are pulling out of most of the ACA plans… because profit.

    https://www.mprnews.org/story/2016/10/18/unitedhealth-raises-2016-forecast-again

    Anyone see a problem when we have insurance companies (who don’t actually provide healthcare) making Billions of profit each year while we continue to debate the merits of Obamacare? We can continue complaining, but it won’t reduce the cost of care.

  61. happy camper

    Yes I see a problem. When I worked for a non-profit BCBS company we extended ourselves regularly to pay for things outside of the policy requirements but after being taken over by a for profit a friend actually became a person whose job it was to deny claims which made her sick doing so for cancer patients to the point she quit, as I did when I saw profit before people. In my mind health care companies should all have to operate as non profits, not that that would be a complete solution as they figure out ways to behave greedy, but also insurance companies should be able to compete across state lines. Even companies with non-profit status need competition and they don’t truly operate as non profits much of the time, but those two things would really change the marketplace imo.

  62. happy, your post is revealing. You know full well then that game is rigged to the point that there are payoffs to keep it floating. Denying claims to those that need the insurance to survive is obscene and should be unlawful. The movie “The Rainmaker” was about just such a thing. Truth is there to see then on how the system is rigged. All of those people under one roof that take the money in and refuse to shell it out, what a friggin racket. The problem is that we are all in cahoots with them by not demanding better. Here we are in election season and we know full well that some of the players in the legislature must be getting something to keep the status quo or else why would they keep screwing the people? Obama is leaving in a couple of months so they cannot blame him, so what are they getting and how much?

    Wellmark is gonna have to merge with one of the two left standing here or get the hell out and that is probably going to be a good thing. Maybe then we can have the managed care that will be needed to keep going until we get to Medicare for all. Until then happy, you are just another victim of the greed of corruption.

  63. Whether you have insurance or medicare or no insurance we all are going have to start asking how much is this service going to cost when we go into a health care facility. Guess what? You are not going to like the answer you are most times going to get when you ask. Most of the time they are going to say they do not know. The insurance companies or regional health are going to tell you that the doctor does not know how much a procedure costs. They are going to say we can’t give you that information. They will say that their price policies are privileged information. They will say they can’t tell you because their competitors could get that information and use it against us so it is off limits for you to know or anyone else. I know of no business in the world where you have no idea what you are going to charged. Even going into a dentist with a bad toothache you are going to be given choices and told how much it is going to cost if we do this or how much it is going to cost if we just pull the tooth as we wait in pain for the answer. THE MEDICINE IN AN EPIPEN COSTS 50 CENTS. THE ONLY WAY A COMPANY COULD CHARGE $600 FOR THAT IS FOR PEOPLE NOT TO QUESTION WHY. Companies like Regional Health are supposed to be “not for profit”–give me a break. They should be taken to court and made to pay the millions of dollars in tax breaks in which they are given for being a “not for profit”.