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WHEN WILL WE JUST SAY NO TO BIG HEALTH CARE? by Jon B. Hurst

When is it a crisis?

Here’s a snapshot of some recent headlines:

“Health insurance costs outpace wage increases,” AP, 9-12-07
“Health coverage rates will rise again,” Boston Globe, 9-13-07
“Dire prognosis: Health insurance costs continue to soar,” Worcester T & G, 9-17-07
“Health care spending highest in Northeast,” AP, 9-18-07
“Rising costs have attention of State Budget Chief, Connector Officials,” State House News Service, 9-20-07

And those are just a few…

The stats and figures come at us on almost a daily basis now. We’ve all seen them so it makes no sense to regurgitate them again here. Something simply needs to be done now about the costs of health care and our skyrocketing health insurance premiums. It should be clear to most from reading these articles that the answer cannot be to simply shift more of the cost burden onto employers and employees especially in light of the fact that employers are now looking at new, more expensive plan designs just to comply with the forthcoming stricter standard of minimum creditable coverage.

The housing market is down. Retail sales are down. Consumer confidence is down. And big health care just keeps on getting bigger, more profitable, and more powerful. They are consuming more and more of our disposable income, our tax dollars and our private sector profitability each year. We are staring at a potential 8th year in a row of double digit premium increases. If that occurs, many small businesses will see family premiums in Massachusetts rise above $20,000 next year. Where has all this money gone, and where in the world will the future money come from?

It’s time for answers and accountability. It’s time for all payers of health care dollars (employers, consumers and taxpayers) to put big health care under the microscope and stop accepting this money grab from our pockets to theirs. We must stop putting them in positions of public policy authority and labeling them as the “experts” on health care policy, or as “important parts of the employer community.” They have taken advantage of the payers for long enough, and our future economy demands that the dollars start flowing back in the other direction.

Jon B. Hurst, President
Retailers Association of Massachusetts

This program aired on September 26, 2007. The audio for this program is not available.

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