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Why You’re Sick And Broke

A new study by the Urban Institute shows startling statistics about health care in the United States.

Bottom Line: Employer health coverage is key to solving the crisis of uninsured Americans. [CQ]

More people lost health insurance during the 2004-2006 economic recovery than did during the 2000-2004 recession. Why? Employers figured out they could save a buck if they stopped providing insurance.

And even when wages went up during the �recovery,� the price of private health insurance went up a whole lot more.

Stats: During the 2000-2004 recession, wages fell from $49,163 to $47,323. The number of uninsured rose by an average 1.5 million a year.

Stats: During the 2000-2006 recovery, income levels rose by $800. The number of uninsured Americans rose by an average 1.7 million a year.

Stats: �Half a million of those newly uninsured workers between 2004-2006 lost their insurance because of cuts to employer-sponsored coverage.�

Stats: Between 2004 and 2006, wages increased 3.5% each year. Between 2004 and 2006, insurance premiums increased 8.4% each year.

And that�s not the only reason you�re sick and broke.

Yesterday�s Wall Street Journal reported that the big pharmaceutical companies have been jacking up the cost of prescription drugs. [WSJ]

Last year, the drug companies raised the price of their 50 top-selling medications by 7.82%. The rate of inflation last year was only 4.1%.

And woe to you if you take some of the more popular meds out there. Between 2005 and 2007, for example, GlaxoSmithKline raised the price of antidepressant Wellbutrin by 44.5%. Ambien went up 70.1%. And the cost of the number one drug in the world, Lipitor, went up 16%.

Even though we weren�t sick when we started reading these articles, we feel pretty woozy now.

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