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Saturday, November 15, 2003
In the Middle Class, More Are Deprived Of Health Insurance
And people say "if the economy improves, what are the Democrats going to run on?" Well, how about this:
In the Middle Class, More Are Deprived Of Health Insurance:
"Mr. Thornton is one of more than 43 million people in the United States who lack health insurance, and their numbers are rapidly increasing because of ever soaring cost and job losses. Many states, including Texas, are also cutting back on subsidies for health care, further increasing the number of people with no coverage.

The majority of the uninsured are neither poor by official standards nor unemployed. They are accountants like Mr. Thornton, employees of small businesses, civil servants, single working mothers and those working part time or on contract.

'Now it's hitting people who look like you and me, dress like you and me, drive nice cars and live in nice houses but can't afford $1,000 a month for health insurance for their families,' said R. King Hillier, director of legislative relations for Harris County, which includes Houston.

Paying for health insurance is becoming a middle-class problem, and not just here. 'After paying for health insurance, you take home less than minimum wage,' says a poster in New York City subways sponsored by Working Today, a nonprofit agency that offers health insurance to independent contractors in New York. 'Welcome to middle-class poverty.' In Southern California, 70,000 supermarket workers have been on strike for five weeks over plans to cut their health benefits."

There's a good model for managing health care costs more sanely, and all we have to do is look north to find it. Yes, medical care is rationed in Canada. The dirty little secret is, it's rationed in the US, too. Read that NYT article about how "Mr. Thornton" couldn't afford some of the tests his doctor thought he needed. The medical industry in the US isn't a free market, it's heavily regulated. The problem is that the regulation is all for the benefit of the medical industry, especially the large HMO's, insurers, and pharmaceutical companies.
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