Letter to the Editor

Controlling health care costs

Monday, October 3, 2011

A Tuesday New York Times article reports that the average annual health insurance premium increased by 9 percent during the past year. It further states that in 2001 the average annual family coverage health insurance premium was $7,061 and now in 2011 it is $15,073. This means that in the last 10 years while wages increased roughly 34 percent, health care premiums increased by more than 100 percent.

When the Affordable Health Care for America Act (ObamaCare) becomes effective, among its provisions which will seek to control medical costs are:

1. An insurance company must justify more than a 10 percent increase in premiums.

2. Insurance companies must spend at least 80 cents of every dollar in premiums on medical care.

3. A mandate that individuals must purchase health insurance.

4. Subsidies for some individuals to make insurance affordable.

It is interesting to note that the third and fourth items on this list were suggested by Stuart Butler in testimony March 10, 2003, before the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging. At that time Mr. Butler was the vice president of domestic and economic policy studies at The Heritage Foundation, a fairly conservative organization.

Given the rapid increase in the price of health insurance, individuals, lawmakers and candidates who favor the repeal of ObamaCare owe the American electorate a specific list of actions they would take to control the cost of this country's health care while not sacrificing its quality.

JOHN R. PIEPHO, Cape Girardeau