Healthcare Costs to Increase 8.5% in 2012

PricewaterhouseCoopers has a new report projecting health care costs to rise 8.5% in 2012 and 8% in 2011.




Insurance policies will have higher deductibles and less coverage, what the report calls a cost deflator. Obviously that's not deflator to you.

One of the most damning conclusions of the report is how health care reform is projected to have minimal impact on health care costs for 2012.

Providers are consolidating, providing less competition. Employer plans are using even higher deductibles, dumping the costs onto you. Medical services are now getting less from Medicare, 3.3% increases for 2012, so as usual, to make up the difference, these providers are dumping their losses by jacking up prices for the rest of us.




Even worst, they are projected a dramatic increase in stress related health care costs. Yes, losing your home and job affects your health.

Below is the CPI index annual change for health care costs:



and hospital related services CPI annual change:



Saturday Reads Around The Internets - Just Another $8.5 Billion Please

Welcome to the weekly roundup of great articles, facts and figures. These are the weekly finds that made our eyes pop.


China iPhone Manufacturer Foxconn's Horrific Working Conditions

Think the iPhone is made in America? Like most things these days, manufacturing is offshore outsourced to China. Out comes another report on the terrible working conditions at the iPhone/iPad factory.

Healthcare Reform - Abandoning the Self Employed

Michael Collins

The most creative sector of the business community has a dagger at its heart in the form of the relentless, unyielding, and over burdening cost of health insurance. The self-employed and very small businesses have seen their insurance premiums climb 20% to 75% since 2009. To purchase an adequate family plan, a self-employed person will pays an amount 50% to 70% of the nation's median personal income, $32,000 a year, for family health plan. This includes premiums, deductibles, and out of pocket expenses. That is twice the cost for relatively generous plans at medium to large size companies. Very small businesses, two to twenty employees, pay about the same (Image: Paul Henman)

Wasn't health reform supposed to take care of just this sort of inequity? Didn't the title of the bill say it all? The Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act There is no protection for the self-employed when they have these stark choices facing them due to unaffordable insurance rates. They can give up working for themselves; buy adequate insurance and take a huge hit to income; buy a substandard plan and hope that whatever comes up is covered; or, abandon insurance at real risk to their health and, in some cases, their lives.

Healthcare utopia and reality

If we remove political considerations, such as how we can get to a certain solution in the face of powerful corporate interests, what would be the best solution to healthcare? First, a few baseline assumptions:

  1. We want to have everyone covered.
  2. We want to maximize health.
  3. We want to minimize costs.
  4. We want the cost burden to be progressive (i.e. rich people pay more.).

Let's look at a hypothetical proposal from economist Brad DeLong, the Australian system, our VA system here in the US, and some thoughts of my own.

Health Care Debt

Years ago when Tenant, Columbia and others were building out their networks, they purchased thousands of local community hospitals. They were viewed as undervalued assets. These large health conglomerates issued bonds to finance their acquisitions, and the first thing they'd do upon purchasing a small community hospital would be to sell the land it was on to one of their REITs. The community hospital then would begin paying rent to the REIT, and that in turn ultimately financed the acquisition. Community hospitals were effectively refinanced and mortgaged, instead of being free and clear of debt burden. No longer did the community hospital operate as an entity standing on fully paid for land. Historically, before the massive reconsolidation by Wall Street, Community Hospitals paid no rent. Why is this important?