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Skipping out on America’s future

Remember what it feels like to gorge yourself on a meal with friends only to find when the bill arrives, your tablemates have conveniently slipped off into the washroom? Well hopefully not, (if so, visit myfriendsareusingme.com) but young Americans should prepare themselves to feel such pain.

Despite all the excitement over the prospects of impending health care reform, the young still have reason for worry. While lawmakers from the Right and Left vigorously seek to caulk the wagon and float across the ideological divide on health care, little is being said about the sustainability of reform and its long-term implications for the future.

The truth is that younger generations are already getting a bum deal. The health care crisis disproportionately affects young people in this country, as young Americans account for the largest chunk of the uninsured with nearly 30 percent of 18-24-year-olds and almost 27 percent of 24-35-year-olds having no health insurance.

For many young Americans, they would find in an auto accident that their cars are better protected than they are. The fact that health care is least accessible to this demographic is a tremendous health and financial risk, but yet is only part of the dilemma health care poses for their future.The rising cost of health care in this country has had a tremendous impact upon Medicare and Medicaid and in turn, our future. As of 2008, this country already faces $34.1 trillion (with a "t") in unfunded financial obligations for the Medicare program alone, amounting to a liability of nearly a half a million dollars for the average family of four. Policymakers and lawmakers alike have largely ignored the severity of such a financial burden on future generations, but worse yet, have further disregarded this tough reality in the current debates over health care reform. Instead in the name of political victory, Washington seems poised to simply plug the dike by pouring more money into a broken system, all while leaving the future to pick up the tab.Such a solution is not only irresponsible, but unethical. Obscuring the severe shortcomings of today's health care system at the expense of tomorrow simply delays the difficult, albeit necessary task of profound and comprehensive health care reform.

While making health care more affordable for individuals is essential, it must also be the aim of our leaders to make the system as a whole more affordable, efficient and thus sustainable. In the upcoming drive for health care reform, lawmakers must be compelled to resist the temptation of the quick fix. They must understand that by ignoring health care's rising cost as the principal systemic issue, they are mortgaging the benefits and assets of young Americans. Failure to do so, will in time place the social contract between generations embodied by the Medicare program at risk and threaten to divide this country not by our politics – but by the opportunities we are afforded.

Landon Gibbs and Brent Parton, Co-Founders' SHOUTAmerica, a non-profit organization based in Nashville, Tennessee committed to cultivating sustainable solutions and policies that address today's health care issues with a conscience for tomorrow

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27 replies »

  1. “an industry that is making huge profits in the healthcare space”
    What are those profits?
    By what measure are they huge?
    How do they compare to other industries?
    How do they compare to other segments of the healthcare system?
    “which holds their data to be proprietary and chooses to not be transparent in any way, shape or form.”
    You just said the data I linked to was educational.
    Where do you think that data came from?
    What efforts have you made to view or collect this supposedly proprietary data and where rebuffed?
    On what basis do you make this claim about them?
    I would suggest reading Kaiser Family Foundation’s website front to back. Then stroll over to AHIP and see all the information they have collected. I personally benefit from United Healthcare’s reports on CDHP, I use the data against them to cut their revenue. BCBS Association publishes a TON of info.
    I could go on all day but we come back to the exact same point we where before. You made a statement, in a factual manner, about a subject you have no experience, no training, and no research effort in. I personally would find it very fascinating to learn your thought process before you make these statements. Did you make it up trying to prove a point or are you just repeating something you heard elsewhere? Off the top of my head I have proven pretty much every statement you have made is wrong. Not that we disagree in opinions but that you are citing and making inaccurate statements. How can you make so many mistakes in such a short conversation? At what point do you start checking your facts before you make more mistakes? Your resilience is very impressive, personally I am more timid with my arguments, if someone factually checks me as bad as I have to you I stop talking and go educate myself. Is this a generational thing where kids today have no qualms about being wrong and continuing to be wrong? Do I need to crush your entire belief system before it dawns on you maybe you have most of the facts wrong and should really reexamine your beliefs? If you have all these underlying facts so wrong how accurate can your conclusions be?
    “I am disheartened that you cannot speak without being angry, insulting, and rude.”
    Do you have any law in your educational background? A corporate entity is the same as a person in the eyes of the law, to super simplify things. You have taken offence, rightly so, to the tone and demeanor in which I have addressed you. If you where to be honest you would admit I have been 100% accurate in my claims and facts though. Now let us examine your comments to other people, people being the companies you so despise. Has your debate with insurance companies been respectful? You have been slandering and demeaning them with no regard for fact or proof. You accuse them of monstrosities you have no personal knowledge of nor basis to believe they are true. Your gossiping about them like a pre-teen girl. In fact I feel very confident in accusing you of wishing them ,easureable and terminal harm.
    While you complain about me speaking down to you in a demeaning tone for you’re making factual errors; you are spreading lies trying to hurt someone. There is not even moral equivalency between our actions, your personal attacks are far worse and borne of malice where mine are just disrespectful.
    I am all about debate and solving the problem, how about we make a deal? I’ll stop picking on you and you stop gossiping about people you have never met?

  2. Nate provides compelling evidence that perhaps there is virtue in the system as is, in terms of incentives for people like yourself to use your talent to make health insurance more affordable. However, one will be hard pressed to find many individuals out there in the world of health care policy who disagree with the fact that the system as is cannot be sustained for a multitude of reasons, from misaligned incentives to its failure to support public health.
    Examining health care with any intellectual rigor reveals the lack of any true “system” of health care finance and delivery, but rather a patchwork of industry silos that make creating avenues for accountability, transparency and any sort of quality – effectiveness standards an uphill battle. Individuals should be commended for being masters of their silos and experts in their realm, but understandably, their specialization may inhibit them from having a more comprehensive appreciation for why reform is needed to address the shortcomings of an increasingly expensive system.
    Simply put, lobbying for the status quo reveals alienation from the realities facing most of this country and why dissatisfaction with health care has evolved into a demand for change amongst everyone from moveon.org to the NFIB. Calling people are idiots, for not understanding how good the health care system is right now would be more of a critique of people within the industry, in terms of their failure to communicate (and demonstrate if they exist) all the benefits from the system just the way it is. Although industry insiders, next time please choose a better spokesperson for this task than Nate, one that speaks with less anger and arrogance and instead helps better the image of the health care industry by engaging in civil debate, rather than further reminding people why maybe they should hate insurance salesman.

  3. I am disheartened that you cannot speak without being angry, insulting, and rude. My original comments were intended to show my disagreement with your post and manner in which you presented your argument. What I meant by my second comment regarding “Selling Insurance” is that you are working in an industry that is making huge profits in the healthcare space, while costs continue to rise, and premiums continue to push people from obtaining coverage. This was not a personal bash against you, but against a sector of the industry (that you work in) which holds their data to be proprietary and chooses to not be transparent in any way, shape or form.
    I end my conversation here.. because when I debate, I choose to do so with people who converse (at the very least) respectfully. You arguments, links, and proof were educational and appreciated; unfortunately your personal attacks seemed to overshadow that.

  4. “Here’s your problem… you are SELLING INSURANCE!”
    And that is intellectual debate from our future folks. Disprove everything they claim, show why their argument is fundamentally flawed and they retort with an attack on your profession.
    This is clear enough proof we are getting no return on investment as tax payors for subsidizing college. We need to discontinue pell grants and college loans and spend the money where it will get some results.
    Katrina to further your education, you obviously need it, allow me to teach you the lesson of not judging a book by its cover. We have established you have a predisposition to hating insurance companies and our current system, you don’t know what they did wrong or why they are bad but that’s what you where told to do so like the good little sheep you ba’ah them every chance you get.
    I have a prospect, that is a client that hasn’t hired me yet, who owns a business with 44 employees. Their monthly premium was $45,368. Carrier is trying to kill them at renewal by raising it to $63,471. This is where evil, lacky of the man Nate comes in. Being real good with numbers I calculated we can buy a $5000 deductible plan from the carrier and reduce the premium to $36,355 a month. Before you half witted progressives start crying about HDHPs the employer would pay the difference between the $250 deductible they have now and the $5000 deductible they are going to buy. By our calculations those claims will equal from $4356 a month to $11,976, either way far less then the carriers renewal offer.
    So lets review the consequences of Nate being a blight on healthcare;
    1. Save the employer $27,599 a month in premium
    2. keep insurance affordable with low deductible for the employees
    3. capture data so the carrier can’t try to charge them ridiculous renewals in the future
    4. On a total cost basis save the employer 10-40% while offering the exact same benefits.
    5. Take a huge chuck of revenue away from insurance companies
    In all your infinite wisdom your right Katrina, I am the problem. By designing efficient insurance programs I’m saving employers and employees money that they will have no choice but to spend elsewhere. By removing the carrier from a role of financing healthcare to just providing insurance, the role they should be limited to, I have probably denied a CEO and stockholders the financial gain they think they are entitled to.
    I have been called out on this before, and I really have made an effort but sometimes I think it is justified. Katrina you are a complete and total idiot incapable of adding ANYTHING to a discussion related to healthcare or health insurance. People like you should not even be allowed to open their mouths. You and your kind are just annoying back ground noise preventing people from getting anything done. When someone does waste the time showing your arguments and agenda are complete garbage you resort to attacking their profession, even though it is that profession that afforded them the knowledge to actually know the facts and comprehend what the solutions need to be. Allowing people like you a seat at the table is as logical as doing brain surgery by committee with shoppers from dollar general. Your to clueless to even realize how clueless you are.
    If you want to blame me for the healthcare problem then stick to my all meat diet or propensity to party making me a bad health risk sure to cost the system untold fortunes down the road. Attacking my profession in your macro perception of what ills the system makes you look even more moronic then believing the average single premium was $900 a month.

  5. Katrina, post like yours are what really drives me nuts about the lack of debate in regards to healthcare. How do people like you have so little concern for speaking out when you have no idea what you are talking about. It’s not that I disagree with your ideas, its you can’t even get basic facts right. You waste so much time with your concern for the situation but can’t take 5 minutes to learn what you’re concerned about.
    “(when an employer actually offers good benefits)” well over half of all employers offer benefits and something like over 80% of large employers. These are full plans considered good. In fact over 80% of people with employer insurance are happy with it. Where does your belief that it is rare for an employer to offer good insurance come from, there are no studies to support your beliefs. Either your opinion in regards to the prevalence of insurance and it’s quality is different then 80% of insured people or your facts are wrong.
    “Unfortunately, no one knows the real price of healthcare until they go without, buy their own insurance policy, go on a high deductible health plan or pay COBRA premiums.”
    True, they also don’t know the cost of feeding and clothing themselves, maintaining a residence, saving for retirement, or being an adult till they, well become an adult. It’s called growing up and taking responsibility, something that appears to be lacking in your generation or at least those you associate with.
    “What you have wrong, is that in most cases health insurance does not cost $70 a month.”
    I sell insurance every day, how many policies have you sold? With your complete lack of personal experience do you think it wise to say I’m wrong in regards to something I deal with every day? You quote a NYT article, that has about as much reliability as your girl friends gossip. It’s sad to see tomorrow’s future has zero ability to research. It’s even sadder to see you fall for something that even the slightest bit of logic would tell you is not possible. $900 per month times 12 months is $10,800. The average per capital spending in the US is only in the $7000s. There is no possible way on earth the average premium is $900. This is as laughable as someone claiming today the earth is flat, yet you believed and quoted it.
    http://www.statehealthfacts.org/comparetable.jsp?ind=270&cat=5
    This Kaiser study places the average single employer premium at $4,118 PER YEAR or $343 per month. NY comes in at $4600 a year. Your article is over twice as high.
    http://www.meps.ahrq.gov/mepsweb/data_files/publications/st202/stat202.pdf
    The average premium for a health insurance policy purchased in the individual market increased by 17.8 percent from $3,111 in 2002 to $3,664 in 2005.
    http://www.ahip.org/content/pressrelease.aspx?docid=21729
    New AHIP Survey Finds Individual Health Care Coverage Accessible and Affordable
    According to the survey, nine out of ten applicants (89 percent) who went through the application process were offered coverage. Forty percent of these offers were at standard premium rates and 49 percent were offered at lower (preferred) rates.
    I hope at this point you see how laughable that $900 assumption was. The fact is you are 100% wrong Katrina a young healthy male can buy insurance for $70 a month. Further I don’t think anyone is going to stand up and claim $70 is inaccessible.
    “What does a 22 year old graduating from college know or care about Medicare unless they are working in health care?”
    When I started my first full time job at 15 ½ and saw the deduction I sure in the hell asked what it was about. It appears the intellectual laziness of your generation is the greater issue here. Maybe we need to stop sheltering you so much so you pay attention to these things?
    SHOUTAmerica is a joke. What is really funny is how you go on about how your generation doesn’t know the cost of healthcare or about Medicare taxes but you can take time to read shoutamerica. Who’s fault is it you pick poor sources of information? You surround your self with people that know nothing about health insurance, read websites that know nothing about health insurance, get your facts from the NYT which knows nothing about health insurance then act SHOCKED that when exposed to it and forced to deal with it you know nothing about health insurance. Besides the cool back ground music reminding me I need to watch Requiem for a Dream again “The Cause” was a waste of 4:39 minute of my life. You’re ignorant of insurance because you choose to be. You need to grow up, take some responsibility and learn a fact or two.
    You should be ashamed to be lecturing anyone when you know NOTHING. Why should anyone listen to you when you can’ even get basic facts right? $900 a month…LOL…really, you actually believed that…..please tell me you haven’t gone to college.

  6. It is apparent to me that in creating sustainable solutions to the future of healthcare, we must FIRST take a step back and understand the inherent humanistic value of Healthcare, its role in American capitalism, and reevaluate the motives and methods that drive the financial framework behind our most “intimate” business. In other words, I propose a “Healthcare Philosophy” sector to ensure that the core humanistic values in healthcare are preserved first, then find ways to finance the system according to all of Healthcare’s potential.
    As strange as it may seem, disease serves an extremely important role in our existence, for without it we would be lacking a very unique human-to-human learning experience. Disease, and our compassionate and conscious ability to fight it, fuels our unified urge to better our state of being, drives human-to-human compassion, which in turn provides innovative (technological and ethical) opportunities that ultimately help us tear down national walls for a common purpose – to share in each others ability to live healthily and freely. Healthcare’s motives and financial frameworks can ultimately become the blueprint that can drive a “kinder captilism” for all businesses to come.
    In finding sustainable solutions, we must brand our healthcare industry with enlightened financial networks that preserve our most important messages. This requires a philosophy sector that underlines all of Healthcare’s natural messages and opportunites. Then and only then can we find ways to finance those opportunities accordingly, not the other way around (which is how it is now). If money becomes the sole incentive for caring for each other’s health, than we will have lost much knowledge of our Human Nature, and all of history’s messages that say healthcare is driven by compassion, NOT finance. We can find ways to make a profit while bettering our Healthcare Industry and ultimately, our world.

  7. Deron makes a good point. While on some levels health care could create conflict amongst generations, in reality this is an issue where everyone is responsible for change. Health care is a very personal and often emotionally charged issue and confronting many of its difficulties will require an examination of the ethics we employ and how we define “quality health care.” Americans are consumed by the idea that modern medicine can fix anything, but if we want to build a “sustainable system” we must first concede that the system cannot be everything to everyone. We must evaluate how health care resources are consumed and figure out where they are most effective, which both means that individuals must become better stewards of their own health and the system must supplement these efforts with greater focus on prevention.

  8. I would like to direct my response to Nate:
    There is an ongoing debate in health care between access and choice, and which one is more important. I would argue any day that access is what matters.
    Health care is not accessible to my generation. Why? Because, as the economy continues to worsen, and new jobs becomes less and less available, health insurance benefits (when an employer actually offers good benefits) are becoming a luxury. I know that the number of my peers who have had to secure a new job, after working for a large employer who made massive layoffs (especially those in finance), exceeds two hands.
    Another issue you seem to gloss over and undermine is transparency. Unfortunately, no one knows the real price of healthcare until they go without, buy their own insurance policy, go on a high deductible health plan or pay COBRA premiums. Once people find out how much health care is going to cost, most individuals choose to pay rent, a mortgage, student loans, buy groceries etc. That’s the reality of the current economy.
    What you have wrong, is that in most cases health insurance does not cost $70 a month. If your employer does not offer insurance, or you work a job that has never offered insurance (as many individuals just graduating do – such as bar tending, free lance writing, acting, or many other jobs in the arts) you are forced to go without or purchase insurance on your own. Check out a recent article in the New York Times (http://tinyurl.com/bunfxt), which estimates the average single adult monthly insurance premium is $900. What happens to the cost when you are 23 with chronic asthma or type 1 diabetes? I can tell you I COULD NOT pay that for health insurance…. and I am not out on the weekend sucking down booze or driving a new car as you suggest. $900 a month is NOT ACCESSIBLE.
    Nate – I am sorry to say, this is simply not about individuals in my generation choosing to not purchase health insurance. What it is about… we are currently paying into a system, every month (Medicare – which will be bankrupt by 2019) that will inevitable fail us. Worst of all, none of us know that this harsh reality exists. What does a 22 year old graduating from college know or care about Medicare unless they are working in health care?
    SHOUTAmerica is about raising awareness of the issues and finding a solution to the healthcare crisis in America. It’s about making my generation more accountable and conscious of the lack of a voice we have in the issues our government is making decisions on. It’s about not letting someone like you make those decisions for my generation (and if you are in the 18-30 age range I suggest you start supporting your peers). Get involved and be part of the solution.

  9. Yet another conversation where everyone complains about the high costs, but no one wants to introduce the elephant in the room…we are a increasingly unhealthy population. If you want to do something for the younger generations, beef up the health class requirements in the junior high and high school curriculums. Show them how leading unhealthy lifestyles will cause them to wind up like grandpa, the avgerage Medicare beneficiary who takes 12 different pills each day, sees 7 different specialists each year, and has 3 chronic conditions.
    Everyone participating in this discussion should be chipping in to the healthcare reform initiative. The question is, are you prepared to look in the mirror and change your lifestyle? If you’re waiting for politicians to “fix” the system, I hope you have a comfy chair because it’s gonna be awhile.

  10. I have trained and worked both in Europe (Germany and a little bit of France) and in the US, and I can only emphasize that in the US, there is an attitude of gold plated health care (the practice variation noted by the Dartmouth people is only the tip of the ice berg). A lot is done (or prescribed, respectively), at a high price/reimbursement (except medicaid), usually with the latest technology … but all in all with little bang for the buck. When talking to both doctors and people outside of the HC system, I note that there is little understanding of that and/or little motivation for change. In fact, there are very many people who insist on gold plated medicine and state that they are willing to pay the price for it.
    The only way of cost control that I could imagine to be feasible in the US would be to offer a public plan that is rigorous on EBM and a less aggressive approach, but still sets high standards. (There is also a need for tort reform – as long as there is the threat of “failure to diagnose” lawsuits because the nonessential test x could be considered “standard of care”, there will be diagnostic overkill.)
    Whoever wants gold plated medicine should get it but needs to pay for it, either in form of private (complete or supplemental) insurance or self pay.

  11. I agree that we have to slow the growth in health care costs to make the system sustainable in the long run. However, I think it is imperative that we provide universal access immediately for two reasons. One reason is the moral crisis as mentioned previously. Nearly 1 in 6 Americans do not have regular access to health care. The second reason that we need universal access is to end the severity of cost shifting. At present, providers are forced to cost shift because of bad debt. By eliminating bad debt, providers can focus on delivering higher quality care, and patients can lower unnecessary costs to the system by getting regular access to care instead of going to the emergency room. Moreover, we can eliminate the severity of cost shifting, which will ultimately lead to greater transparency and more consumerism.

  12. Dr. Lippin, you are correct in saying that we have a moral crisis on our hands. We have millions of Americans without access to health care. And, we have to start addressing it immediately! But, we have to be careful not to create unsustainable, shortsided policy. Unless we figure out how to slow the growth of health care costs, any policy creating universal access will be unsustainable and will place the stability of our government on unstable ground. If we are not careful, we will price an emerging generation out of all things we take for granted today.

  13. The reality is that this demographic has by far the lowest voter rate of participation. Even in presidential years, their numbers are less than impressive. As for other races, forget about it.
    Reality is that both parties care about those who actively are involved in their party to a degree and give lip service to the rest. If you don’t vote and don’t have a lobby that throws their money around (Peter Novelli and AARP comes to mind), then neither party will really care about what you think.
    My bet is that the biggest divide that is coming in this country in about 7-10 years isn’t going to be so much along party lines or racial lines (although they will still be there) as between generational lines. Boomer politicians of both parties have been completely fiscally irresponsible and run up huge deficits.

  14. “The fact that health care is least accessible to this demographic”
    This statement is not supported by any facts. The word accessibility means to have the capability to receive it. No study has ever shown this demographic has less access to insurance then any other. In fact countless studies have shown it is more affordable and accessibile the younger you are.
    The FACT that most healthy 18-35 year olds CHOOSE to not buy insurance does not in any way mean they don’t have access. It means the 18 year old male with no health conditions rather drink or buy a car with his $70 a month then buy insurance. A far different problem requiring a far different solution then not having access.
    “But we have a short term moral crises with the growing number of US uninsured”
    Where is the moral crisis? With the 50% of the uninsured eligibile for free care who CHOOSE to not enroll? With the 5-10 million illegal aliens who should not be counted in the first place? With the 20 million uninsured making over 50K a year who could afford to buy insurance but CHOOSE not to? Why does the moral shortcommings of the above groups require the governments hand in my pocket? My morals are fine, how about we start taxing those creating the problem!
    “simply put, the insurance system is too comlex (as we all know), and it’s easier for a young person to ignore the problem when they feel that health issues are something they’ll face only when they’re older.”
    Insurance is no more complex then the inner workings of an OLED TV yet they know they need a warranty for that. Plenty of young people have insurance on their cell phones and cars both of which are very complex. They ignore the problem becuase there is no consiquence. If they don’t have a warranty or auto insurance they suffer. If they don’t have health insurance they get free care. People need to stop making excuses and get some personal responsibility. If a young adult can program a website they can read their insurance policy and ask quesitons, the difference is they CHOOSE to not read the insurance policy.
    Mark the new COBRA regs are even worse. Studies have shown younger workers are suffering a higher percentage of the layoffs and unemployement. Young healthy woeking people can buy individual policies for well under $100 a month. Instead the government is going to pay 65% of employer COBRA premium which starts in the 200s and is much higher in most states. For their 35% contribution they could almost pay the entire cost of an individual policy, few if any will forgo the government largess and do so though. The 65% subsidy is almost 100% wasted.
    “Can the universities or placement centers provide material to review/research/understand benefits in the same way they education graduating seniors on interview skills and resume writing? We can’t expect them to understand health benefits without being willing to explain them – yes, a daunting task.”
    Dian it’s already there, they are called brokers. They are paid to do exactly that. Any young person can call their or their employers broker and get all the education they need. We waste money have univerisites try to do something that is already available and paid for? Not to mention universities can’t even educate their students on what they are suppose to be teaching them why let them bungle this as well?

  15. mark is likely correct that the “right” health care reform may not come from this administration. it has nothing to do however with the problems with the stimulus, though the amount of money the government is printing and pouring into the economy by the trillions (with a t) is certainly something to look hard at.
    The issue, however, stands with our legislators, on both the state and federal level. They can only see as far as the end of their noses, and the lobbyists currently working on healthcare “reform” are certainly not guiding them to look towards what is best for the fore mentioned age group. It will take ACTIVE, not just blogging, commenting, thinking, though these are all important and certainly a start, but active participation in government (beyond just a vote) by people of this generation to change our gloomy , and expensive, fate.
    First step, making sure they know to care. This past election certainly got young people to care in a way they never have before, but someone (shoutamerica!?…) needs to make sure the thing that got them excited and/or pissed off in november of 2008 stick into the coming four years, and beyond.
    Once we remember that we need to care, and that something has to be done, and no our government no matter how much faith we have in it, doesn’t really always get it right, we can begin to see a real movement towards change.
    Someone out of government, not stuck in the machine, is just as likely if not more so to come up with the “right” idea to get healthcare on a healthier track. We just need to make sure government actually hears our “shouts” for a better plan.

  16. I’m a fully-insured worker, and yet I’m still reluctant to participate in a healthcare system that has – to me – become synonymous with inconvenience, bias, and corruption. As long as there is profit to be made in healthcare, the interests of healthcare providers and insurers will often be at odds with those of the persons requiring the care. I’m not sure that there is a solution to the fundamental opposition of the Hippocratic oath versus the bottom line, but if there is, it probably involves personal responsibility and/or civil disobedience.

  17. Healthcare costs are rising, and given the fact that it our system is designed for the healthy to take care of the sick, it is no wonder that the younger generations end up shouldering the costs. Ultimately one of the choices this country will have to make is what are the rights we are guaranteed. Life, liberty, pursuit of happiness. Does that include healthcare? If I have healthcare coverage, what will that pay for?
    The problem that we must address is not just coverage, but what is in coverage. We spend a lot of money on end of life care, I am not saying this is right or wrong, but do we have the right to spend crazy amounts of money on delaying death with very low probability of changing the outcome? These are the question no one wants to address, they want to blame greedy doctors and pharm companies and say they are driving up costs, but those costs are much less than the issue of what is covered.
    Who pays for the system is always going to be an issue, the young today will be the old tomorrow. I do not advocate the “take what I can get” philosophy but I do understand it. The issue is that we need to address is what should be covered and what the consumer should have to pay for.

  18. I agree 100% … this generation is caught in the middle. Can the universities or placement centers provide material to review/research/understand benefits in the same way they education graduating seniors on interview skills and resume writing? We can’t expect them to understand health benefits without being willing to explain them – yes, a daunting task.

  19. While I’m sure the author’s will probably disagree with my conclusions, I find the following statement to be incredibly spot on, “Policymakers and lawmakers alike have largely ignored the severity of such a financial burden on future generations, but worse yet, have further disregarded this tough reality in the current debates over health care reform. Instead in the name of political victory, Washington seems poised to simply plug the dike by pouring more money into a broken system, all while leaving the future to pick up the tab.”
    With the recent passage and signing of the new and rewamped SCHIP (State Children’s Health Insurance Plan) and the proposal of the Medicare Prescription Drug Savings and Choice Act of 2009, the Obama administration has done just that however. They have committed and are prepared to committ additional untold billions in poorly and inefficiently administered public funding for healthcare. This is in addition to the $18 billion in entitlement spending included in the recently passed “stimulus” package. Continuing to waste taxpayer money in the pursuit of an unrealizable goal is not the answer. I agree with the need for fundamental reform and a change of focus, I’m just wondering if we’ll see it from this administration.

  20. Agreed, completely. Education is necessary, as the yonger generation is sheltered from the actual financial impact of healthcare. Being young and healthy and covered as a dependent has created a divide, in which recent college graduates are thrust into the working world without a basic understanding of healthcare costs or the crisis ahead. In my time in the benefits industry, I saw young professional after young professional “shut off” when explaining their benefits program — simply put, the insurance system is too comlex (as we all know), and it’s easier for a young person to ignore the problem when they feel that health issues are something they’ll face only when they’re older.

  21. Yours are the arguments that echo Peter Orszag,current head of OMB and and David Walker former head of GAO.
    I completely agree with the sustainability concept as applied to health care which will be a painful longterm transition.
    But we have a short term moral crises with the growing number of US uninsured that needs an immediate fix. On this we cannot delay.
    Dr. Rick Lippin
    Southampton,Pa

  22. While we no doubt disagree on the solutions, there is little doubt that the group you mention is THE target of health reform—
    the best place to go to get money for the system is that group— young, healthy, and rarely utilize health system. (children, the other large group, of course have no income.)
    Organizations like yours should take note that the big lobbying groups sitting around dividing up your constituency’s current and future income do not care one whit about them.

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