Health care costs to surpass total income?
March 14th, 2012
03:13 PM ET

Health care costs to surpass total income?

Take a close look at the chart up above. It’s taken from a new paper, in the Annals of Family Medicine. If you believe the doctors who put it together, it tells one of the scariest stories you’ll ever hear.

The gentle upward slope represents the median income for an American family, projected through 2035. The lighter colored curve is projected average spending on health care - insurance premiums, and out of pocket costs.

With current trends, the authors say, in less than 20 years the average family will face medical costs that are higher than their total income. All of it.

Dr. Jennifer DeVoe, one of the authors, says she already sees the strain in her practice at the Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland.

“I see people who don’t eat, or don’t pay rent, so they can pay medical bills,” she says. “They can’t afford their medication, or in some cases, even a mammogram.”

The basic facts aren’t new. Health care costs have been growing faster than inflation since the government began to track them in the 1960s. Between 2000 and 2009, the paper says, the average annual increase in insurance premiums was 8%, while household income rose an average of 2.1%.

But some experts say the doom and gloom is overblown. J.D. Kleinke, who last month wrote a Wall Street Journal op-ed titled “The Myth of Runaway Spending,” points out that growth in health spending has been moving closer to the overall inflation rate, for the past decade.  He says the slowdown came because insurers and private companies introduced plans with higher deductibles and bigger co-pays at the same time the government introduced health savings accounts, where individuals can get a tax break to help pay for medical expenses.

“In the old days, people never questioned cost because they were basically given a blank check,” says Kleinke. “Industry figured it out and said, 'This is madness.' ”

DeVoe acknowledges the trend, but says what strikes her first, “is that these costs are still increasing.”

Whether you see health spending as a crisis, depends, in part, on your focus.

In 2009 and 2010, total spending on health care grew at a slower rate – 3.8% and 3.9%, respectively – than at any time on record. But even that outstripped inflation –  1.6% in 2010, and a negative 0.3% the year before.

At the same time, a larger share of the cost is being borne by individual families. According to a survey last year by the Kaiser Family Foundation, premiums for family health insurance plans rose 9%.

To Kleinke, a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, shifting the burden is good and necessary.

“Because people feel the economic pain directly, they’ve actually changed behavior, and spending did start to come down.”

A wild card in all this is the Affordable Care Act, often called “Obamacare.” Critics say expanding health insurance to cover another 30 million people will send costs through the roof. But ACA supporters point to provisions meant to slow or reverse the growth in spending - especially an emphasis on preventive care, which is supposed to reduce the need for expensive hospitalizations and emergency room visits.

DeVoe says the ACA is a “great first step, but it’s not enough to get us where we need to go in terms of sustainability.”

Co-author Dr. Richard Young, who runs the country’s largest family practice training program, at John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth, Texas, points out that the new federal “comparative effectiveness” program - meant to compare the benefits of different treatments - is explicitly forbidden from considering cost, just as Medicare is forbidden from denying any “medically necessary” treatment, no matter how high the cost, or how small the medical benefit.

Young put it bluntly in an interview: “Until we’re willing to say 'no' to somebody, anybody, there is nothing to stop this inflationary pressure.”

Asked if the analysis isn’t deeply pessimistic, he said: “That’s right.”

soundoff (972 Responses)
  1. Julnor

    Medical science has developed treatments that postpone death. These treatments are expensive. And when you postpone someone's death, they just use more healthcare. That's why health care costs are rising.

    March 14, 2012 at 15:35 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Chris

      And yet other developed countries provide as good or better health care at a much lower cost than in the US.

      March 14, 2012 at 15:58 | Report abuse |
    • coloradom

      Chris: Which countries are those? Most healthcare treatment starts here – other countries have have it because American companies made the initial investment to do the high cost research and the rest of the word benefits from it. I'm not saying that we're better than the rest of the world, but same medication that costs thousands of dollars here is mere pennies in another country. We happen to be wealthy, so we are the ones who get to pay for it.

      March 14, 2012 at 17:40 | Report abuse |
    • LDan

      This is for coloradom: It is not true that all the medical breakthroughs are made by US. A lot of cancer medication is developed in Europe and a lot of US citizens actually go to Europe for cancer treatment. Our private medical insurance system is out of control. Do you know how much they charge for a 3 minutes sonogram to check a lump? Well, 4 years ago it was $800 with $200 co-payment from us.

      March 14, 2012 at 18:30 | Report abuse |
    • OvernOut

      To LDan: Two years ago, a five-mile ambulance trip cost us $650 out of pocket, that's the amount that BC/BS refused to pay because the EMS unit wasn't a preferred provider–like we had a choice when we called 9-1-1. I assume that we would have to shell out more than that now. (I only called 9-1-1 because we were in a packed church on Christmas Eve, there were 1200 witnesses, and an MD, an RN, and a certified first responder said that I should call.)

      March 14, 2012 at 20:03 | Report abuse |
    • timburlina


      Your statement is patently false. More than half of the top-grossing pharma giants and sizable portion of the med device mnfgs are non-US based. Even then, most are trans-national so it's silly to call them "American" or "European" or "Asian". The US is *the* most profitable healthcare market on the planet. Why? Bwahahaha...employer (private) health insurance and people like you. I hope you were paid for your endorsement 🙂

      March 14, 2012 at 20:50 | Report abuse |
    • c s

      "Most healthcare treatment starts here – other countries have have it because American companies made the initial investment to do the high cost research and the rest of the word benefits from it." This is not true. Despite all of the hype about how medical care increases lifespan, the truth is that people are not living much longer than they in 1900. The major difference is that childhood diseases and public health measures have made it possible for most people to reach age 60. Vaccines and access to clean drinking water has made it possible for most people to reach the age of 60. Neither of these things are very costly compared to the total medical cost in our society.

      In 1900, a 60 year old would live another 14.35 years. In 2000, a 60 year would live another 20 years. So all of modern medicine power was able to to add less than 6 years to life. Do a WEB search of "Life Expectancy by Age, 1850–2004" and you can find the table on life expectancy in the US.

      According to the CIA Fact book the US ranks 50th is lifespan in the world. The US is number 1 in cost but number 50th in results from our medical system. Do a WEB search of "Life expectancy at birth" and "CIA fact book".

      March 14, 2012 at 22:33 | Report abuse |
    • TheWayISeeIt

      Chris – you're right . Canada's Healthcare is superb, as is Britains, Australias and New Zealands. I can't say about others because I don't know.

      March 14, 2012 at 22:50 | Report abuse |
    • wavejump1100

      exactly, i know it sounds horrible but we are wasting huge amounts of money on old people just to keep them alive for a few more years. whats so wrong with letting old people die? everyone dies. we need some sort of age/cost guidelines so we dont waste billions on unproductive old people sucking up social security and medicare funds.

      March 14, 2012 at 22:50 | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      There's another reason why costs are so much higher here than in other countries.

      Let's say Super MedCo (yes, a made up company) develops a new cancer medicine. The US does not set any limits that they can charge for it, so they are free to charge in the $50+ range per pill.

      In other countries? They basically say to Super MedCo, "You want to sell your medicine here? You will charge $0.50 per pill." And if they don't, ALL of Super MedCo's products are either explicitly banned from the country, or all of the providers have extreme pressure put on them to not use Super MedCo's products.

      March 14, 2012 at 22:57 | Report abuse |
    • SSimpson

      COLORDOM: – hmmm – I just did a 10 minute search on the Internet and found all sorts of patented meds developed in other counrties....

      And Chirs' comment IS valid... Our northern neighbor spends far less on healthcare than we do – the pay for way more of their Dr.s education – their Drs and Nurses are so good we actually send people to Canada to recruit the for our hospitals – they have a lower infant mortality rate and longer life expectancy than we do – and they have a large pharmacutical and research industry.

      My EX is an Oncologist/Hematologist in CA – she worked with a University Dr there when doing her research on TTP – The guy in Canada at that time was the best in both countries... That's why she worked with him...

      And New Zealand has an even better system..

      We have a lot of tools and spend a lot of money on toys, but nothing explains why we live shorter lives.... At the end of the day, being alive is the only real measure of success in medicine.... and we spend 10 times more than most countries and STILL lose.....

      March 14, 2012 at 23:15 | Report abuse |
    • sharky


      Please stop with the myth that other developed countries have better healthcare because it is national/social/universal. It is indeed a myth. Cheaper perhaps, but quality is not better.

      March 14, 2012 at 23:26 | Report abuse |
    • Justin Y

      To those of you who suggest that living longer is what is driving up our costs compared to other nations, remember that many other nations with longer life expectancies spend significantly LESS than we do and live LONGER. To focus on this age factor alone misses the point that the US healthcare system is structured far differently from other nations. Check out the CIA factbook on life expectancy and also spending per capita + life expectancy and you'll see what I mean. We in the U.S. are paying a heck of a LOT more for less (at least so far as life expectancy is concerned).

      March 14, 2012 at 23:28 | Report abuse |
    • sharky


      I hope that is sarcasm.

      I lived in Australia for 5.5 years was friends with doctors there and NO the healthcare was NOT better by any means.

      If Britain's healthcare was so grand than the former NHS director would not have died from all of the delays due to the NHS system.

      March 14, 2012 at 23:29 | Report abuse |
    • Unspkblraidr

      Kleinke is a happy idiot. Shifting the burden means moving millions to a high deductible plan which means that most will just defer treatment until the ailment is impossible to ignore and thus more costly to treat. Rational is a very fluid term that truly has no market meaning in the context of health options that are not truly optional. I am probably in the top 3-5% when it comes to health plans and my colleagues and I all share the same experience on this one. Smart health care consumption is really just a euphemism for "don't get it done". Your employer certainly doesn't care if this is your choice as the taxpayer will assume the cost once your health is too poor to justify keeping you on payroll. Get a clue people choice is for the 1%. Fn wake up!

      March 14, 2012 at 23:34 | Report abuse |
    • Neeneko

      There are several 'reasons' pointed to to justify the higher costs, but at the end of the day they are little more then distractions. Prices have been rising because they can, and profits have been rising to match, meaning the single greatest contributor to increased costs is the profit margin.

      March 14, 2012 at 23:39 | Report abuse |
    • Unspkblraidr

      Wave jump1100. Be careful. If you want to tie healthcare tonproductivitybthat is a minefield. Today Goldman decides what I do adds more to the economy than what you do. Tomorrow it flips. Do you want to play roulette?

      March 14, 2012 at 23:48 | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      LDan, Reality check! Insurers don't charge for medical services, doctors and hospitals do! Insurers pay the bill for you at dixcounted rates from what your doctor or hospital bills.

      March 15, 2012 at 00:03 | Report abuse |
    • Adam

      Here's a simple solution: One way to go is buy an emergency insurance with high deductible and co-pay and use DoctorsForUninsured site or all other needs where you pay cash. Now imagine this, if all providers give 20% or more discount on five appointments in a month to self-pay patients, a large number uninsured middle-class who can afford to pay for office visits (but can't afford hundreds dollars a month, every month for insurance) out of their own pockets will be taken off the system. This will take care of a big chunck of the 30 million uninsured that is left /after/ the obama healthcare.

      March 15, 2012 at 01:03 | Report abuse |
    • sathya

      There should ceiling on the age how much should they live. 65 ?

      March 15, 2012 at 01:06 | Report abuse |
  2. chaz1

    This article is obviously a sham. The Republicans already told us we have the greatest healthcare system in the world. Now who're you going to believe...some silly, whiney doctors or our scrupulous, conservative public servants?

    March 14, 2012 at 15:46 | Report abuse | Reply
    • pditty

      I'll believe the wealthiest people in the world when they check into the Mayo clinic.

      March 14, 2012 at 22:47 | Report abuse |
    • Just Me

      @pditty – you hit the nail on the head: the wealthiest people in the world can afford our healthcare. What about the average citizen in our country?

      March 14, 2012 at 23:57 | Report abuse |


    March 14, 2012 at 15:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. AJ

    If the government would change their "healthy eating" recommendations, such as the get-fat plan known by most as the food pyramid/plate, perhaps health costs would go down.
    We are making ourselves sick with a high-carb, low-fat diet that we are told is "healthy" and "ideal". In 1994, 1 in 8 kids had a chronic health problem. In 2006 that number had doubled to 1 in 4. These kids become adults with chronic health problems.

    March 14, 2012 at 16:45 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Portland tony

      If I had a nickel for everyone who pays attention to the food pyramid or anything the government says about food, I be 25 cents ahead!

      March 14, 2012 at 17:00 | Report abuse |
    • AJ

      Portland tony, they may not follow it to a T, but in general, if you look around at people saying they are "eating well" and "trying to diet/lose weight", they eat a lot of grains and reduce their fat intake. And it does it work? Nope. I've seen the same people eating the same foods trying to lose weight year after year. The American public has been led to believe that a sandwich on whole grain bread, and occasionally throw in a salad with fat-free dressing is a "healthy lunch". It's not ideal, and it's not helping them lose weight.

      March 14, 2012 at 17:23 | Report abuse |
  5. 2words

    single payer

    March 14, 2012 at 16:50 | Report abuse | Reply
    • tony

      Single payer. Single payer! SINGLE PAYER!!!. Private Health Insurance is just legalized skimming for corporate interests.

      March 14, 2012 at 22:49 | Report abuse |
    • sharky


      Private health insurance is choice as opposed to Government control.

      March 14, 2012 at 23:30 | Report abuse |
    • Xen1313

      Orginized Crime is choice as well, but the government stepped in to protect it's citizens.

      March 15, 2012 at 00:48 | Report abuse |
  6. Portland tony

    People are not going to live in the street, stop eating, etc..to pay medical bills. People will skimp on tummy tucks and breast augmentation. And with any business that prices itself out of the market, Dr's will have to lower their price es...diagnostic device manufacturing will lower their price, there will be more generic drugs available and drugs still under patent will fall in price. It'll all work out.

    March 14, 2012 at 16:54 | Report abuse | Reply
    • pditty

      You are 100 percent right, unless the Government gets more involved.

      March 14, 2012 at 22:46 | Report abuse |
    • oh brother

      Do you just make that stuff up Tony? Where I work I talk to people everyday who are going without to afford health care. I do work with the elderly so that does skew it a bit. But you could not be more wrong.

      March 14, 2012 at 23:27 | Report abuse |
    • Living the story

      I have a preexisting heart condition. This means that when I turned 26 and got kicked off my parents health insurance, I was faced with two options. Pay $800 a month for COBRA or take on my huge medical costs (not tummy tucks or elective procedures, but ones to make sure I stay alive). An example of those medical costs would be a pill that with insurance I pay $10 for a month, without I would pay over $400 a month for. I clear about $500 a month because even with a 3.5 GPA and a double major from a top rated college, there are not enough jobs, so I work in retail. I have to live with my parents because (like many people in the 21-30 age bracket) I can't afford housing. My parents have had to help me pay for food, medications, and other costs because I cannot afford them. I'm not living in extreme poverty thanks to the fact that my parents can support me, but if they couldn't I would have to choose between my meds and rent. To be honest, since without the meds I probably won't be able to work or function I'd choose the meds.

      March 15, 2012 at 00:14 | Report abuse |
  7. Linda

    This doesn't take into consideration possible breakthroughs in medicine which may result in significant decreases in medical costs, including ones that have already been discovered, but that the FDA and the AMA have been exceedingly slow in approving. When it takes 15 to 20 years (or in many cases even longer) for medical advances to be put into standard practice, those decades become decades of excessive medical costs for methods and treatments that are not as effective as they could be, resulting in longer illnesses or more serious complications, and consequently greater medical costs. When doctor training revolves around the profits of pharmaceutical corporations, instead of actual medical education, medicine is going to continue to push expensive methods for dealing with health issues that palliate symptoms instead of getting at the root of the problem. When patients have to spend years going from doctor to doctor before getting an accurate diagnosis, it's going to continue to drive medical costs higher. Medicine has got to start addressing patients problems, instead of treating patients like they're just a nuisance necessary to pay overhead costs.

    March 14, 2012 at 17:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Finn

    Tummy tucks and breast augmentation are not covered by health insurance and therefore have no effect on the cost of heatlh insurance premiums.

    March 14, 2012 at 17:38 | Report abuse | Reply
    • BS

      Yes, they are on some plans. Teachers in many areas have 100% coverage for cosmetic surgery; and I mean 100% coverage, not even a co-pay! Look it up, and you will see what the tax payers are shelling out for some groups.

      March 14, 2012 at 18:59 | Report abuse |
    • Emilie

      @ BS: You're BS. Why are teachers suddenly the enemy here? There are NO public school teachers whose insurance is covering tummy tucks and breast augmentations! Maybe you do more research than a Google search sir.

      March 14, 2012 at 19:18 | Report abuse |
    • AngelaD

      But they do if there are complications. Or follow up care and long term consequences. I would not underestimate that number.

      March 14, 2012 at 19:54 | Report abuse |
    • TheWayISeeIt

      BS – Not only teachers but their FAMILIES as well. I saw it on the news a week or so ago.

      March 14, 2012 at 22:54 | Report abuse |
    • Living the story

      I saw on the news a week ago that aliens were confirmed to be living in New Mexico... it must be true! The news never stretches the truth to sell papers or stories...

      March 15, 2012 at 00:17 | Report abuse |
  9. cosmicsnoop

    What the author says last is dead right. People are afraid to die, but everyone is going to and it is nothing to fear. We need to stop wasting money on very old people, period. Two women I work with have parents in their 80's who are getting chemo, heart by-passes, it's ridiculous. Your 85, just die, seriously, chemo? C'mon. It's the Dr's and Insurance that to blame to even allow this. One parent was told he could not have anymore surgeries or it would kill him. Then he's told he needs to have a surgery or he will die. JUST DIE ALREADY! "Everybody wants to go up to Heaven, but none of them want to die", Peter Tosh.

    March 14, 2012 at 19:41 | Report abuse | Reply
    • pditty

      Your parents are lucky.

      March 14, 2012 at 22:44 | Report abuse |
    • wavejump1100

      so true

      March 14, 2012 at 22:44 | Report abuse |
    • Tim

      Sure – see how you'll feel when your 80.

      March 14, 2012 at 22:51 | Report abuse |
    • TheWayISeeIt

      Cosmicsnoop – What a sad, unfortunate person you are. I bet you pulled the wings off flies when you were young!

      March 14, 2012 at 23:08 | Report abuse |
    • TheWayISeeIt

      @ Comic snoop – By your twisted reasoning if we're ALL going to die and it's really quite pleasant [ according to you – I'd ask how you know but I don't want to go there!!!!! ] WHY do we bother fighting to save ANYBODY'S life? There's really no point. So whaddya say, Einstein?

      March 14, 2012 at 23:15 | Report abuse |
    • heartdocdujour

      absolutely right – just die already....EXCEPT – there are 37,564 lawyers standing outside the room waiting to sue you for negligence – AND – where do you draw the line ? 90 ? 85 ? 80 ? 76 ? Arbitrary. And if you draw it at 80 and a healthy 81 yo is having a huge heart attack are YOU gonna watch him die while the lawyers drool ? Maybe the governemnt makes a policy – 80 and done ? Logan's run ? Are there some "really good" 81 yo's who should get therapy anyway ? Who's decision ? Anyway – not saying it's right to transplant a 92 yo but implementing the let old people die thing is not so easy – ESPECIALLY with more out of work attorneys per square foot of land than anywhere else on earth AND with insurance companies and the pharmaceutical industry making higher margins than any other business on earth except oil

      March 15, 2012 at 00:09 | Report abuse |
    • unspkblraidr1!

      Cosmicsnoop: You are dead right. People are afraid to die, but everyone is going to and it is nothing to fear. We need to stop wasting money on very UNPRODUCTIVE PEOPLE period. Two women I work with have JANITOR parents in their 60's who are getting chemo, heart by-passes, it's ridiculous. Your"RE (corrected) a JANITOR just die, seriously, chemo? C'mon. It's the Dr's and Insurance that to blame to even allow this. One JANITOR was told he could not have anymore surgeries or it would kill him. Then he's told he needs to have a surgery or he will die. JUST DIE ALREADY! "Everybody wants to go up to Heaven, but none of them want to die", Peter Tosh.

      Hope your job is as good as mine. BTW, I'm not old or even close. Just sayin' be careful about those arbitrary criteria, could come back to bite ya.

      March 15, 2012 at 00:13 | Report abuse |
  10. Bill Rhodes

    Americans really do believe if enough money is thrown into healthcare, there may be a breakthrough that will save them from not being able to live forever. Sounds crazy bit it's true. Up to 80% of all money goes to keeping you alive in your last year of life, and 77 million boomers will go through this in the next 30 years.

    Selling hope (mostly to the families) for the dying is what will sink us. It's a grueling grind I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. Give me strong pain meds, & I'll watch my last sunrise from my own bedroom window.

    March 14, 2012 at 21:12 | Report abuse | Reply
    • TheWayISeeIt

      Medical care is NOT to stop you dying – it's more about the quality of life you LIVE. Stupid trolls.

      March 14, 2012 at 23:10 | Report abuse |
  11. bobd

    Cosmicsnoop must be part of the Death Panels we were warned about.

    March 14, 2012 at 21:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Ron Harding

    I really liked the part about getting a “tax break” to help pay for medical expenses. When filing your income tax, I have never been able to understand why one’s medical expenses (if married) must exceed 7% of your combined adjusted GROSS INCOME before you can deduct anything. It should be like Charity donations in that you can start deducting after “dollar one” !! Also, I strongly feel that people who smoke, drink alcoholic beverages to excess, &/or may be very obese should pay higher health insurance premiums than someone who doesn’t smoke, drink to excess, and tries to exercise and maintain a healthy diet. To put it bluntly, people with BAD HEALTH HABITS should have to pay more.

    March 14, 2012 at 21:41 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Julnor

      IN the end that does not matter. Whether you do this stuff or not, eventually you will get sick and die. It's a matter of "when" not "if".

      March 14, 2012 at 22:38 | Report abuse |
  13. tallone

    Simple! Get medical coverage like Canada has, where EVERYBODY is assured
    of medical treatment.

    March 14, 2012 at 22:26 | Report abuse | Reply
    • pditty

      If we do that where will Canadians go for their healthcare? Take a trip to the Mayo clinic in Rochester MN. No shortage of over emphasized "A's" in that hospital.

      March 14, 2012 at 22:42 | Report abuse |
    • sharky

      Hey how about the US has the population of Canada, then maybe things will work. Canada population under 40million, US population over 312million.

      March 14, 2012 at 23:33 | Report abuse |
  14. Joshua Ludd

    Welcome to America, the last first world nation to not provide all its citizens with health care.

    March 14, 2012 at 22:30 | Report abuse | Reply
    • pditty

      Welcome to America, formally land of the free. Now we have free healthcare and no freedom.

      March 14, 2012 at 22:40 | Report abuse |
    • tony

      Loss of Freedom and FEAR of terrorists was brought to you by the Republican Conservative Bush administration. Who spent more money on DEFENSE that ever before, to FAIL TO STOP 20 Saudis who took over four of our airliners with just $99c. box cutters.

      March 14, 2012 at 22:54 | Report abuse |
    • ???

      Like you, I fail to let history interfere with a good story, but a simple fact check reveals Bush was inaugerated in Jan 2001. 9/11 happened 8 months later. No budget was passed during this time (back in the good ole days when Conress passed budgets) , so the spending was already in place. The massive upshift in spending came afterwards. Regardless, carry on with your stories that justify your hatred you hold onto.

      March 14, 2012 at 23:10 | Report abuse |
    • sharky

      Joshua Ludd–

      And with a population of over 312million, half the country not paying income taxes, people having a myriad of diseases, plus paying for other social programs, plus paying for defense, plus paying for veterans, federal workers, a tapped out Social Security fund, the list goes on please do explain to me precisely how everyone can be insured in this country.

      March 14, 2012 at 23:36 | Report abuse |
  15. Lerxst


    March 14, 2012 at 22:32 | Report abuse | Reply
    • pditty

      Yes, take my freedom in exchange for federally controlled and rationed healthcare.

      March 14, 2012 at 22:38 | Report abuse |
    • Julnor

      Universal single payer will not affect the cost of treatment. In fact, it will increase costs because more people will want more treatment. And when your govt is your insurance company, you will have to choose between things like limits on lifetime benefits or bankrupting the country.

      March 14, 2012 at 22:39 | Report abuse |
    • CB

      Pditty. Your freedom? Your freedom to what? Not die because you cannot afford insurance? To not lose everything you own because of medical bills? To not get cancelled because you have a preexisting condition.? To have your health care in the hands of a for profit insurance company?

      March 14, 2012 at 23:53 | Report abuse |
  16. pditty

    On the day the CBO announces that Obama care will be twice as expensive as he lied it would be CNN runs this BS of a story? I'm sure that's just a coincident. CNN, you and those who follow you are tools.

    March 14, 2012 at 22:36 | Report abuse | Reply
    • ???

      Coincidence? Yep. Nothing to see here. Move along people and keep drinking the Kool-Aid. Everything is OKAY. The Government will take care of you. No decisions are required, expected, or allowed to be made by you. The faux intellectual elites know whats best for you and will always act in your best interest.

      March 14, 2012 at 23:03 | Report abuse |
    • sharky

      Funny enough it was CNN a couple days ago that ran a story saying the original Obamacare costs were higher than the latest CBO projections. So basically CNN put up an article saying the CBO was saying the Obamacare costs were going to be less than previously thought.

      I cannot seem to find that story now on CNN.

      March 14, 2012 at 23:39 | Report abuse |
  17. wavejump1100

    most people will never spend most or all of their money on healthcare. they will simply due without it. people may not live as long they may even die but you cant spend more than you earn (for long) and you have to eat and pay rent or mortgage so this chart is actually impossible.

    March 14, 2012 at 22:42 | Report abuse | Reply
    • pditty

      CNN didn't write this sham for you to go and think logically about it. You are meant to have a purely emotional response to this article. Don't you see the other emotionally charged comments in this thread. Shame on you. Stop being so smart and get in line with the rest of the CNN sheep.

      March 14, 2012 at 22:53 | Report abuse |
    • ???

      You are correct that people will chose to go without, but Healthcare is a HUMAN RIGHT! You can't go without it! Like contraceptives in college! How will we ever be saved from this pending catastrophe? If only we had politicians to save us, we could be okay. All we have to do is legalize all immigrants and the immigration problem goes away. If everyone had insurance the medical costs will be under control!

      Never mind you just increased the demand four-fold and did nothing for the supply. By the time thats a problem all the young voters were to young to remember the lies of Obamacare and the same politicians that caused the mess will "save" them.

      March 14, 2012 at 23:18 | Report abuse |
    • Living the story

      ???: While I agree with your point, technically LIFE is a right, healthcare is a privilege.

      March 15, 2012 at 00:25 | Report abuse |
  18. Julnor

    Every time a new or better treatment is developed, people who would have died will live. Those people will then live until the next life threatening illness, which probably also has a new treatment. So every time you postpone someone's death, you increase the overall cost of healthcare. Being "saved" by a $100,000 treatment today by definition adds $100,000 to our overall healthcare costs compared to years ago when that treatment did not exist. How many people get knee replacements compared to 20 years ago? How many people survive cancer compared to the 1970's? It's like saying people spend more on computers today than they did in the 70s.

    March 14, 2012 at 22:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. tony

    If everybody took more dangerous antibiotics, like CIPRO, which just gave TIGER WOODS major tendon damage, so many would die from its even worse other whitewashed side effects, that we would revitalize the economy.

    March 14, 2012 at 22:59 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Living the story

      So you think that CIPRO is a bad drug because a famous person had a negative side effect? Think about how many lives its saved from infections and sepsis... If it were me and I had to choose between dying from pneumonia and getting tendon damage, I'd live and limp.

      March 15, 2012 at 00:27 | Report abuse |
  20. pditty

    Obama care fixes all of this. No more research and development. As you are dying you will get pain meds. Forget quality of life. Forget that extra year or two that allows you to see your Grand child being born, or Graduate from High School or College. Who needs that extra few years to see your kids get married. Take that final cruise or maybe get that last item off your bucket list. Forget all that, just die already because life is about the money not the experiences. (to liberals this is sarcasm)

    March 14, 2012 at 22:59 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Living the story

      I'd really like to see the validation you have for these general statements. Seems like you're just trolling without anything to back up your arguments to me...

      March 15, 2012 at 00:28 | Report abuse |
  21. John B

    2 years ago my son was diagnosed with a brain tumor. I have spent over 300k in 2 years on TESTS. I'm broke. Would you be?

    March 14, 2012 at 23:01 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Julnor

      I am very sorry to hear about your son. But your case highlights why costs have increased. If this were 1992 instead of 2012, the tests that cost $300k probably would not exist, so you would not have spent money on them. Now I'm sure that your son would have a much lower chance of survival, but the overall cost of your healthcare would be $300k less. I wish nothing but the best for your son and your family.

      March 14, 2012 at 23:06 | Report abuse |
  22. dd

    Obama solved the wrong problem and created a massive problem! People ignorant in real world issues are useless to society. Obama is useless!

    March 14, 2012 at 23:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Manatee

    The Republicans keep criticizing ObamaCare, but yet would love to let the horrible system continue with the outcome being what the this chart shows. Politicians, Insurance companies, Doctors, Lawyers, Medical Equipment Companies, Hospitals, Drug Companies, fraud, are already stealing so much out of this Health System, it's already not very useful for the amount of money people pay. I voted for Reagan, but I don't think I 'll ever vote Republican again, since I feel they just stand for greed, rather than any Christian values.

    March 14, 2012 at 23:11 | Report abuse | Reply
    • ???

      I humbly disagree. You can't fix medicine until you fix tort laws. Sueing a company for One Hundred Jillion-Bajillion Dollars because my dad passed away because an unknown side effect increased his heart attack rate by 4% is rediculous. Until limits are placed, doctors will always overtreat, insurance will always be upset that they are overtreating, and healthcare costs will keep rising.

      Fix Medical Tort Law, then fix the profit margins of insurance companies and pharmacutical companies because they inflate intentionally to compensate to sympathetic jurys swayed by BAD science!

      March 14, 2012 at 23:27 | Report abuse |
    • Living the story

      Republicans can afford the healthcare that is in place right now...

      March 15, 2012 at 00:29 | Report abuse |
  24. Welcome to Reality

    The actual cost will sky rocket much faster than that after Obamacare has been fully implemented. If you think this is scary, you have no idea what socialized medicine will do to the cost of getting sick! REPEAL OBAMACARE NOW!

    March 14, 2012 at 23:11 | Report abuse | Reply
    • SSimpson

      Answer one question – countries that have SOCIAL healthcare have lower infant mortality rates and longer life expectancy than we do... (CIA world factbook – and MANY other sources)...

      The success in medicine is LIFE – more of it means better health care..... and just because it costs less... well...

      Obamacare isn't bad because of what it is tryiing to do – it is bad because it doesn't go far enough.... Try looking up the facts yourself in reputible sources (not NEWT and Conservapedia) instead of listening to thetalking heads that make money by keeping you uneducated (uneducated in this area – you could be a rocket scientist by day for all I know)

      March 14, 2012 at 23:19 | Report abuse |
    • ???


      You are right but for the wrong reasons. Mortality rates are lower in other countries because they don't run to the doctors everytime they feel uncomfortable with morning sickness and the OB doc has to prescribe drugs that are Class C (not verified safe fot pregnant women, because testing on this group is unethical). Less is better. I stay away from meds unless absolutely required. We need to get away from the Fix Me mentality.

      March 14, 2012 at 23:36 | Report abuse |
    • sharky


      Ah yet another "Social medicine in other countries is awesome" myth buyer.

      Look I lived in a country with that care, the quality was NOT any better, it was still horrible and the population was a fraction of the US. I actually was friends with doctors that laughed at the country's healthcare system because it was crap.

      There is no awesome supremo system anywhere, at the same time you cannot keep a huge population in a country and expect everyone to life and have no issues. Life has to balance out or else we are in serious trouble.

      March 14, 2012 at 23:44 | Report abuse |
    • CB

      "Obamacare" is not socialized medicine. Not even close.

      March 14, 2012 at 23:56 | Report abuse |
  25. AZ Resident

    Here in Arizona we (family of four) pay $987 month for health care insurance with a $2,500 deductible. Ten years ago we paid $352 month with a $1,500 deductible. How much higher can this go? 🙁

    March 14, 2012 at 23:15 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Living the story

      I'm a single, non-smoking, female. I currently have to pay about $1000 a month in total medical costs because I have a heart condition and if I go off of COBRA I lose my health ins all together. I clear about $500 a month at my job because there aren't enough jobs so I have to work in retail. Trust me, it can get so much worse.

      March 15, 2012 at 00:33 | Report abuse |
    • insurance agent

      Living the story-
      Check out your state HIRSP program...you should be able to get rates much lower than that because of your preexisting condition. The HIRSP plans are the same as private insurance but the rates are locked in according to age. The Federal plan is similar, but it has a six-month waiting period for all treatments - probably not good in your situation.

      I'm guessing you could cut your premiums by 50-60%. Good luck!

      March 15, 2012 at 01:36 | Report abuse |
  26. tallone

    Canada has had universal health care since about 1945. It has it's problems like any system,
    but no one becomes bankrupt or homeless, because of medical needs.

    March 14, 2012 at 23:17 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mr Grumpy

      Tell that to Liam Neeson's wife.

      March 15, 2012 at 01:11 | Report abuse |
  27. Jon Bjork

    Well, I'll tell you that shelling out as much for healthcare as for our mortgage is coming close to giving me a heart attack. We're pretty healthy, but it's sad to see that we could be healthier if we could afford to spend time exercising more and taking medications to control allergies and infections sooner. There have been times I've seriously considered dropping all health insurance to improve our standard of living, which sounds completely backward, but is true. I appreciate the advances in medical technology, but I'm close to letting God and life take me and my family wherever we're destined to go.

    March 14, 2012 at 23:17 | Report abuse | Reply
    • TxPharm

      PPACA is a Trojan Horse for single payer. It encourages employers to dump employees in to government exchanges. In 2014 when the rest of the mandates go into effect and insurnce companies have to accept everyone, premiums will skyrocket, encouraging even more employers to dump employees. Those employees will usually get an increase in salary, which of course will be taxable. So much for" If you make less than $250k your taxes won't go up."
      Governement HMOs called ACOs are being formed now. In 2014, it is providers rather than insurance companies who take on the risk. If a 300lb diabetic smoker is readmitted to the hospital after surgery, the hospital and his doctors don't get paid. In 2014 medicare recipients will get letters ordering them into ACOs. Eventually for reasons described earlier, everyone will use ACOs for care. If you want to see whatnthis will look like, go to your local VA hospital. The words " If your like your plan you'll be able to keep it" will come back to haunt Obama in the worst way. But he is hoping you will elect him to a second term before this happens.

      March 14, 2012 at 23:39 | Report abuse |
  28. kandy321

    Sign your house over and you'll get to live five more years.

    March 14, 2012 at 23:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. ArranWebb

    Some people in the health care industry are getting paid too much.

    March 14, 2012 at 23:25 | Report abuse | Reply
    • bill davis

      Sure and they do CME's every year. with 6 paid holidays. and never a 40 hour work week...while being 100% right all the time.

      March 14, 2012 at 23:40 | Report abuse |
  30. svann

    You cannot extrapolate that far and expect accuracy. Looking at the data from 2012 and earlier you could predict many outcomes. This is just making a chart that predicts what you want it to predict.

    March 14, 2012 at 23:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. petemg

    Many of us are asking if Obama care is so great, why was it planned behind closed doors and by only a few select people. Obama said it would save people money but how. Also it had been stated that the health of a person was going to be decided by a small group o people. You will have to be a certain age and certain health to be able to receive health. So if you are a young person and you had a severe accident you may be allowed to die because it would be too expensive to keep you alive. Also it had been stated that Obama care was just another form of a slush fund for the politicians.
    Granted the insurance companies are already robbing us of money and have been scammed by many people, but do they have a criteria do decided on if you should be allowed to die because you were too old. Yes we need to have reform, but not at the sake of human life at any age. I know many will disagree and that is your right. I just want people to think about what all of this would mean. And would this satisfy the mulatto. Just asking and wondering.

    March 14, 2012 at 23:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. KALOWG

    Excuse me while I break out my "surprised" face. =O

    March 14, 2012 at 23:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. bill davis

    The rate of Cancer is excessive in the USA as is Obesity, Both are tied together.

    Eat Less Exercise More,

    Lazy Fat Americans. it is killing you

    March 14, 2012 at 23:37 | Report abuse | Reply
    • TxPharm

      Good point. When we hear repeatedly how much we spend on healthcare compared to other countries, I never seem to hear our obesity epidemic mentioned as a possible contributor, which will of course, get worse in the coming years resulting in a very expensive epidemic of chronic diseases like diabetes. Most people don't realize that since we refer to a 2700 page bill that no one has read, including most members of Democratic Congress who unilaterally passed it, that your premium will still go up for smoking and age under Obamacare. It should for obesity also.

      March 14, 2012 at 23:53 | Report abuse |
    • Living the story

      I agree with you, but I add the fact that. Cigarettes are just as guilty as obesity. Also, our mothers didn't know about a lot of things that cause birth defects (cigarettes, alcohol, various meds, caffeine, etc.) so many of us were exposed to things before even being born that made us more likely to be sick...

      March 15, 2012 at 00:36 | Report abuse |
  34. Terry - Indiana

    If there ever was an argument for a "Single Payor System" this article brings the concept to the forefront.

    March 14, 2012 at 23:37 | Report abuse | Reply
    • TxPharm

      I've been in health care for 30 years, and can tell you that the problem is so many people have had blank check insurance where a third party pays so they don't care about cost. They are no longer consumers, over utilize the system, don't care when they get a prescription that cost $300 because they are only paying $10. They could have gotten a perfectly good generic for $10. This is just one example. We needed insurance reform, more health savings accounts, patients with more skin in the game. I can promise you most Medicare patients don't even look at their statements. As far as single payer, it's on the way. Obamacare is designed to force private insurers and employers out of the business, with incentives for employers to dump employees into the exchanges. Plus premiums will skyrocket under mandates in 2014, forcing almost everyone into government HMOs called ACOs.

      March 15, 2012 at 00:08 | Report abuse |
  35. Teri

    I get a set 3% annual increase. Twelve years ago, my insurance premiums were $100/mo. Luckily this was paid 100% by my employer. My insurance premium now is $580/mo. Same employer. Same insurance company. The only difference in coverage is MUCH higher copays on drugs and an increase at the doctor's office. Plus, labs used to be covered 100% and now are only covered 80%. Almost 6 fold in 12 years for what amounts to less coverage. For me to add family coverage, I would be paying out of pocket almost $600/mo – and that's just the cost to upgrade – the difference. I don't see how families who have to pay for their health insurance premiums out of pocket can afford it. We have several plans to choose from and the "best" family plan is $3000/mo. And, it's not really grand insurance. I'm on the "better" plan and even with it, it is almost $1200/mo for family coverage. The "good" plan runs $800/mo for family insurance an doesn't even cover dental or vision and has a huge annual deductible. It's pretty much major medical only. Unreal.

    March 14, 2012 at 23:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. ramble3144

    Obama care is now projected by the CBO to increase the deficit by $2.7 tillion over 10 years. That's trillion. Which is a thousand billion. Which is more than a lot. It's a real a lot. A lot. What a sham!

    March 14, 2012 at 23:44 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Living the story

      And yet we still pay movie starts and athletes millions and EMTs, fire fighters, and cops barely make ends meat.

      March 15, 2012 at 00:39 | Report abuse |
  37. Peter Koedijk

    Obama care fixes all of this. No more research and development. As you are dying you will get pain meds. Forget quality of life. Forget that extra year or two that allows you to see your Grand child being born, or Graduate from High School or College. Who needs that extra few years to see your kids get married. Take that final cruise or maybe get that last item off your bucket list. Forget all that, just die already because life is about the money not the experiences. (to liberals this is sarcasm)

    Selfish, selfish, did I say selfish?! See it this way, you would like to live an extra two years so someone else who doesn't have health insurance (not due to their own fault) will loose their life savings and house and die prematurely. It's like you say, I care more about ME and MY experiences in life than I do about any other low life out there, right Mr. Ditty?

    March 14, 2012 at 23:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Steven Bulcroft

    I would question an "op ed piece" denying runaway costs from the wall street journal now that it is owned by Murdoch and the FOX news crew. They have been known to put out false or misleading news stories more then once. The hope is the ACA will reign in some this spending but since the GOP has taken most of the strong steps out of it I am not going to hold my breath.

    March 14, 2012 at 23:48 | Report abuse | Reply
    • mmi16

      Fox less than truthfully – FLMAO. Has Murdoch and company EVER been truthful about anything!

      March 14, 2012 at 23:54 | Report abuse |
  39. mmi16

    I have no problem with Doctors driving expensive cars – just don't bill me as if I have to pay for it myself.

    March 14, 2012 at 23:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. annieL

    I am 63 and I plan to let nature take its course if I get cancer. Partly because all I have to look forward to is working at some low-wage job until I drop dead to supplement my Social Security, and partly because I'll be darned if I will spend my last penny sending some doc's and some drug company rep's kids to private schools and Ivy League universities, buying them second (or third) homes, another Mercedes or, in my doc's case, a Hummer. If there's a penny left in my bank account after the funeral, I want it to go to my son, to buy his insulin for his Type 1 diabetes. Better that he live another day than me live another few months.

    March 14, 2012 at 23:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Senior Moment or Senior Poverty

    Getting old already has become a choice of a potentially improved life if and only if you have no chronic health problems or effective poverty almost o matter what your income if you have chronic health problems, especially if you are retired or unemployed before becoming Medicare eligible. After all charity care is granted based only on gross income, not on income left over after living costs and other health care bills hav eliminated disposable income.

    For those who are poor enough long enough and who are able to get welare including subsidize housing (since the welfare grant isn't usually enough to rent a normal apartment, which is scare; and Mediicaid you almost have enough to live on until you have to pay oaut of pocket medical expenses ior burial costs,, you still don't have enough to get all your dental care and eyeglasses.

    Everyone else is squeezed between health, dental and vision care and a cost of living increasing faster than your income while your savings are earning less than real inflation, you are okay only if you don't havemajor chronic health care costs to drain your income. While a $10,000 maximum out of pocket cost may not even be unattainable if it happens no more than once every few years it is an extreme burden every year for a growing part of the population.
    Even a medication commonly needed to treat severe psoriasis and some other problems, Humera is $1,450 month at the hgihest discount available is half that $725 a month with a Medicare Advantage Plan or not covered at all by regular Medicare Part D.

    What has happened is inexcusable.. While middle class incomes have been stagnate, at most keeping up with inflation, but the last few years not even doing that most retirees have axctual suffered from declining incomes after adjusting for any reasonable measure of inflation. A fraction of a percent interest rate can only keep up with inflation during a deep recession.

    What the medical profession may soon learn is that people will reach a maximum tolerance where they will feel a chance of death without any medical care is a higher standard of lliving, while you are alive, than getting medical care. Doctors and dentist in our area have quicker access to appoiintments that in anytime in the last dozen years, and what this means is people are learning you teeth can only get so bad is you postpone dental care or insist on any kind of fillng over any kind of crown, even if that leaves a tooth too far away from the opposing tooth to provide good chewing.

    If I were not in the last year before Medicare I woudl simply stop getting recommended care and all prescriptions except my high blood pressure medicine. Other chronic health problems can make me really uncomfortable or shorten my life expectancy, but that can't reduce my stqandard of living as much as health care expense does. The problem is similar to a person who choses not to live with a 10% fat diet and the minimum food necessary to sustain ideal weight in return for a shorter live with more enjoyment.

    I even looked back at all my emeergency room visits in retrospect and not a single one came up with a correct treatment or diagnosis. even when it resulted in hospitalization because of specific mistakes made by the ER doctors. I met a women even who had the same experience but did not demand to be seen again in the same day. She wound up with only 25% of her heart muscles still allive and pumping blood.. The our of town heart surgeon even said that same hospital reached an inaccurate conclusion of damage to part of my heart with an angiogram, and that in fact waitging for the surgery until I got home, had put me at no risk and the heart showed no heart damage at all and the blood flow was clearly adequatee even though the first hospital felt that part of my heart must surely already be deed. Again, there was no heart damage and adequate blood flow. I was though as accurately diagnosed at risk of a burst coroary artery, which was bypassed..

    March 14, 2012 at 23:56 | Report abuse | Reply
    • unspkblraidr

      Not everyone else. The system is not designed to serve you. I know of a woman whose husband died in obvious cardiac arrest on admission while hospital staff were grilling her for his health insurance info. The poor usually (but not always) get the basic level of service they need to keep them out of the newspapers but they don't get what they need to keep them healthy and alive for very long. You need to ask yourself if a for-profit system, which makes sense in every arena where choice drives purchase decisions, really makes sense when the patient has a gun held to the head when asked to "choose." Follow the money. You'll get your answer.

      March 15, 2012 at 00:23 | Report abuse |
  42. jim

    I only know a little bit about statistics and I know that the curve they extrapolated for health care costs is crazy. Cover everything past 2012 with your hand then do the same beforehand...you be the judge

    March 14, 2012 at 23:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. LOL

    Preventive care does NOT cut costs. It inflates them. Every person over 50 gets a colonoscopy at $1,500.00 a pop. What percentage of people get cancer and what is the cost? Every person gets a colonoscopy every other year. 143,000 people had colon/rectal cancer 2012. New York alone estimates it has 2,000,000 adults that should be given colonoscopies. Nationwide what would that be? Is it cheaper to give 20,000,000 colonoscopies to find 143,000 or to deal only with those who show signs of colon or rectal cancer? I am not saying we should avoid health maintenance, I am simply saying that it is silly to think that it is going to drive down cost. Volume alone will drive up cost and at some point we will still need to be treated for disease- perhaps when we are older (which also drives the volume we use individually) but the cost is actually higher as we are treated when we get older. So, let's not swallow the pill that promises savings ...historiically it just ain't so.

    March 15, 2012 at 00:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. Joey

    Many of these comments further destroy what little faith I have left in humanity. Rather than grow angry at the massive fraud perpetrated by insurance companies, hmo's, for-profit hospitals, drug companies, etc., many are proposing setting the elderly or infirm out to pasture. A couple of years of a pretty lousy economy (while retaining a standard of living that would make a king only 50 years ago jealous) and we're getting ready to eat eachother. It took decades of abject poverty to drive the Germans to similarly monstrous thinking.

    March 15, 2012 at 00:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Supra

    This might sound evil but...maybe there should be something like, after the age of 85 all costs must be covered by the patient?

    March 15, 2012 at 00:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. GianCarlo

    It's become to the point where only the 1 percent can afford health insurance. It's also telling when avowed Christians clap and yell out loud, "let him die" for someone that can't afford health insurance. This country is a disgusting nation. Worst part is that they all consider themselves avowed Christians. Really? that is the scary part.

    March 15, 2012 at 00:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. bee

    come to canada and you'll see that universal health care works.. for everyone. I honestly don't understand the way u.s.a. americans defend not helping their neighbours out of hardship in health?? So selfish..!! and spend that money on a war that doesn't benifit the world community or even your own? wow that's a great policy!! Seriously!!! c'mon! get with the program!!

    March 15, 2012 at 00:27 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mr Grumpy

      Get a clue. Without the US you'd be speaking Russian now. We could reduce our health care costs by shipping our illegals up to you.

      March 15, 2012 at 01:07 | Report abuse |
  48. PHinMiami

    Healthcare is driven by 'Outcomes' & 'Patient Satisfaction'. Those 2 criteria are not necessarily in harmony. Client have become more and more demanding to the point of being irrational. Demanding private sitters, services not related to hospitalization, and multiple doctor's opinions, not to say the least. Outcomes have become secondary to satisfaction making costs prohibitive. "I need to stay another day or 2", . . . if a patient can say that, they should have been discharged from their 'Hotel' room yesterday. – RN

    March 15, 2012 at 00:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Mike

    This will never happen with me. I go and see a chiropractor, period. I refuse to take prescription medication and I keep myself in fairly good shape. It's weak people that drive up the cost of healthcare...

    March 15, 2012 at 00:42 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mr Grumpy

      I wish you could see all the patients that chiropractors have screwed up. They're great if your problem is in your head.

      March 15, 2012 at 01:05 | Report abuse |
  50. Adam

    One way to go is buy an emergency insurance with high deductible and co-pay and use DoctorsForUninsured site or all other needs where you pay cash. Now imagine this, if all providers give 20% or more discount on five appointments in a month to self-pay patients, a large number uninsured middle-class who can afford to pay for office visits (but can't afford hundreds dollars a month, every month for insurance) out of their own pockets will be taken off the system. This will take care of a big chuck of the 30 million uninsured that is left /after/ the obama healthcare.

    March 15, 2012 at 01:02 | Report abuse | Reply
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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.