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Health Care Costs Quickly Rising

Health Care Costs Quickly Rising

Posted - Sep. 28, 2004 at 9:29 p.m.



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Richard Piatt ReportingIf you feel like you're paying more for health care coverage these days, you're right. A new study finds Utah health care premiums have gone up more than 66 percent, in the last four years -- five times more than earnings have gone up.

These are grim statistics--strategically released in this election year. But even so, the findings are depressing; in fact, some people don't even have health insurance these days, it's getting so expensive.

Nine-year old Logan Bookman hits a respectable single in an evening baseball game. On the sidelines, the game is nine innings of anxiety for his mom. She worries a typical run-and-dive for home plate could wind up in some unlikely but serious injury. And without health insurance, the whole bill would come to her.

Beth Bookman: “If we have a problem, we’re just going to add more to the medical bills. It will be more money that I’ll pay when I can.”

Bookman, with an on going heart condition, already owes $15,000 in medical bills because she has no health insurance. Unable to qualify---not poor enough for assistance--she is one of a growing number of people falling through health care cracks in Utah.

According to a report released by non-partisan 'Families USA' in Washington DC, Utah is part of a grim national trend: More non-elderly people are without health insurance today than four years ago—1.4 percent more in this state.

But the study also finds Utahns with insurance are paying much more to stay protected. In fact, Utah's increase is the highest in the nation.

The study says the amount workers are paying for health insurance now is about 66 percent higher than it was four years ago. The national average increase is just about 36 percent higher.

By comparison, the average income per worker has risen 13.2 percent over the last four years. For those who work to fit the un-and-under insured into the system, this report is an election year rallying cry to bureaucrats.

Judi Hilman, Utah Issues: “They need to have a plan to cover all the uninsured by a certain time period. To not do that is not just fiscally unwise, it’s just stupid.”

Health care is, in fact, a campaign issue the Presidential race, and could be a topic the candidates address in Thursday's debate.

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