Health

Health Care Costs Take Record-Sized Chunk Out of Economy

| by AFL-CIO

Earlier this week, we noted a new study that predicts health insurance premiums will jump between 10 percent and 11 percent this year. Now a new government report says health care costs last year took the biggest bite ever out of the nation’s economy.

The non-partisan Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) reports that health care spending ate up a record 17.3 percent of the nation’s economy, or $2.5 trillion, in 2009, up from 16.2 percent in 2008. That is the largest one-year jump in 50 years. In 1960, health care costs consumed just 5 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product.

Over the past 50 years, as health care costs have soared and working families pay more and more for less and less, profits have skyrocketed in the health care industry, especially the private health insurance industry.

Yet the Party of No Republican opposition to meaningful health care reform means these through-the-roof costs for families and the entire nation will climb higher and higher.

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Comprehensive health care reform would slow the growth in health care spending, lower working families’ costs and maybe even take small bite of health care profits. There’s the rub, and the big reason Republicans and the health insurance industry have lined up against real reform.