If this graphic didn't scare you, then maybe you've been living in a cave, or just aren't too concerned about the future of America. This graphic should scare you, and help you to get the gist of why REAL healthare reform is critical to the costs that you and your employer incur for healthcare, as well as for the entire country, because it's the taxpayers who will foot the burden of out-of-control healthcare cost growth as well.
Some may ask why I'm on a soapbox about healthcare reform, and the answer is really quite simple. Healthcare reform, without real reform, is just another way to pump even more money into the machine that is slowly but surely bankrupting our country. Healthcare spending is currently about 17% of GDP (+ or - 1%, depending on who you ask), and and heading toward 20% of GDP in a few years -- one out of every five dollars spent in in this country!
The current plans on the table, while offering some "mini" reforms, basically just pump another trillion or so dollars (over the next 10 years alone) into the same high margin, fee-for-service machine that has led to a never-ending spiral of cost increases several times the overall rate of inflation for the past few decades. Even in the 2008-2009 economic slump, the worst in decades, healthcare costs are expected to rise 10%+ annually, even while consumers are cutting back on and/or delaying medical care!
Of course, most Americans are concerned about what comes out of their pocket for care, and that's understandable. But what I believe many fail to realize is someone is paying for all the care that they're not paying for, and those "someones" are your employer, your government (i.e., you), your children and grandchildren, and you again (indirectly, through increased deficits, and future tax increases to pay for them).
So, even if you think you're not paying for it, you really are, because it is built into the cost of the goods you buy, the massive deficits we're racking up, and higher costs your employers are incurring (which otherwise might go towards pay increases or bonuses, but are diverted to healthcare instead).
The healthcare crisis in America is not going away, with or without the current plans on the table. So, it's time for all Americans to demand real reform, at least if you're concerned about the world you and future generations of Americans will live in. Reform that will restrict and/or modify the current fee-for-service model, and move towards evidence-based treatments, outcome-based payments, best-practice models, and yes, possibly even some reasoned rationing of care. Why? Because everybody can't have everything they want in healthcare services, whenever and wherever they want it (and at little or no out-of-pocket cost, of course) and not expect the costs to soar.
I feel better, now that I've blown off some steam! Please do your part; and just complaining about it is not what I mean by doing your part. This really is a crisis, even if you don't feel it yet.
Doug Sayed is principal at Applied HR Strategies, a Seattle area compensation consultancy, and author of the StrategicPay Series Base Pay Toolkit, a guide for helping non-compensation experts to develop their own strategic compensation programs.