Thursday, September 10, 2009

Employer-Sponsored Healthcare Benefits, Where Will They Be In 20 Years?

In his healthcare speech to Congress last night, Obama said:
"Nothing in this plan will require you or your employer to change the coverage or the doctor you have."
The Associated Press wrote:
"That's correct, as far as it goes. But neither can the plan guarantee that people can keep their current coverage. Employers sponsor coverage for most families, and they'd be free to change their health plans in ways that workers may not like, or drop insurance altogether."
The AP made an additional point ...
"The Congressional Budget Office analyzed the health care bill written by House Democrats and said that by 2016 some 3 million people who now have employer-based care would lose it because their employers would decide to stop offering it."
... which Maggie Mahar of Health Beat claims is unfounded:
"Here CBO was not “scoring” legislation; it was pretending to read minds. No one knows how many employers might decide to drop benefits if the House bill passed. What we do know is that, if we do nothing, health-care spending will continue to spiral. And if costs rise as sharply as they as they have over the past ten years, by 2019 premiums will double. At that point, we can be certain, a great many employers will be forced to get out of the benefits business."
By 2019 premiums will double? Possibly:

Maybe premiums won't skyrocket if employers offer less generous plans. But, according to the White House, that would force workers "to spend a larger fraction of their take-home pay on deductibles and co-payments."

It appears this is already happening:

I wonder where employer-sponsored healthcare benefits will be in 20 years.
Source for graphs: White House Council Of Economic Advisers, The Economic Case For Health Care Reform, Executive Summary, June 2009


Anonymous said...

I suspect we'll have a single payer system in 20 years. Future Americans will realize how inequitable and at times barbaric our current system is, and wonder what all the hoopla was about.

Bix said...

Is 8 years too short a time to tell if compassionate conservatism works? To improve the conditions of the less fortunate?

It will be interesting to see how history views this time. I hope I'm alive.