Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Health Care Cost Fight Continues

The battle to control rising health care costs continues. One of the current battles is being waged in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas is locked in negotiations with one of the largest hospital networks, Texas Health Resources, over cost increases.

The average family health insurance policy in Texas cost $13,225 in 2009, a figure that is equal to 22% of median household income in the state. To put it in perspective, it's an increase of 38% since 2003. Deductibles in Texas went up by more than 80%. (By comparison health care now consumes nearly 17% of America's GDP.)

Who's going to blink first? The insurance company doesn't want to lose customers because they can't use their favorite hospital in-network but health care costs have to be controlled. The 24-hospital network doesn't want to lose customers because they're now out-of-network either. This area, and America, simply cannot afford to watch health care costs continue to escalate.

There are no easy answers to this problem as we saw last year in the health care reform debate. With Republicans coming into power in a few weeks the debate will begin again. The voters and tax payers of America simply cannot afford to sit by and let special interests, lobbyists and others in Washington decide our fate.

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