“According to Aon a number of factors are driving the projected increase in health care cost for 2012. Employers continue to experience an increase in the quantity and cost of catastrophic claims, as slower levels of hiring have resulted in slightly older workforces who are more prone to costly medical conditions. In addition, generally poorer health – leading to increases in costly conditions such as diabetes and heart disease – make it difficult for employers to deploy tactics that drive short-term cost savings.”
Please note some key words in the above revelation: older workforces; catastrophic claims; costly conditions such as diabetes and heart disease; generally poorer health.
Why would this study and this information be of import to a blog that deals with the fiscal and financial matters of the US economy?
There are almost too many reasons to list in an essay of 900 words. Here are a few:
1. Businesses no longer wish to do business in the United States. They go elsewhere. Costs for things like health care insurance are among the most significant reasons why they go elsewhere.
2. Sure there are many other reasons; having to do with out of control costs for unemployment insurance, social security/Medicare taxes, litigation concerns, union meddling and rules and too high taxes from every level of government – federal, state and local.
3. But, take it from a former small business owner and take it from the many other small business owners this small business owner speaks with; health care insurance is no longer affordable for most business owners anywhere in this country. That’s for its own employees. Who on earth can afford to pay it for “public servants?”
Ask yourself this simple question, if interested. Why should a person running a small to mid size business, say 20 to 150 employees; much less a large business, have to pay health insurance costs that are extremely high and rising because of an increase in the “quantity and cost of catastrophic claims”; “older workforces who are more prone to costly medical conditions” and a population beset with "generally poorer health -- leading to increases in costly conditions such as diabetes and heart disease?"
Could someone please explain why a business that is trying to compete with businesses domiciled in countries where these conditions do not exist or where there is no health insurance safety net for the general population or where such costly procedures are either not performed at all or are performed at a fraction of the cost in the United States should be forced much less even asked to pick up the tab for this nonsense?
Some folks seem to grasp that a massive rise in the cost of residential real estate is a bubble that cannot be sustained because no one can or could afford the cost of the inflated house prices. But those same people cannot grasp that there is no difference between a real estate bubble and the bubble in health care costs. Or the bubble in education costs. Or the bubble in all government costs. All three are now completely unaffordable for most Americans. All must burst. All must decline. As with housing, heaven forbid that we should step in and stop the madness before it collapses. Better to follow the Greenspan/Bernanke/Obama/Bush bubble madness wherein government supports everything until the whole thing collapses under its own weight. Absolute and utter nonsense!
In the past these pages have displayed a health care cost per capita chart that compares the US of A with all other developed and developing countries and also measures the life expectancy in each of the listed countries (see: TheFundamentals, September 24, 2009.) The US is off the charts for cost – two to three times greater than most developed countries, even more with others, and no; let’s just repeat that, NO improvement in life expectancy. As a matter of fact its life expectancy is less than most.
When will someone get it through their thick skull that burdening business with these health care costs and burdening taxpayers with the cost of insurance for 22+ million government employees is a sure and fast route to ruin? Is it too much to set a limit? Is it too much to say NO, you can’t have that procedure or that medicine or that therapy unless you pay for it yourself? Is it too much to say that first American industry must remain competitive or all will be lost?
Folks, a democracy that does not set limits is no different than a dictatorship that knows no limit. They both benefit the bureaucrats and insiders who get in on the goodies and destroy opportunity and comfort for all others.