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The plight of health care costs

Theplightofhealthcarecosts

In 1997,Minnesota spent $15 billionon healthcare and familypremiums for health insurancewere about $5,000 per year.Nearly 20 years later,overall spending tripledwith families spending over$18,000 a year on premiumsand the statespending $47 billion.Take a look at this chartbecause it illustrates thereal pain of our current path.More and more of the dollarsavailable on our stateand our personal budgets aregetting eaten up by healthcareand it keeps growingfaster than everything elsewithout regard for other priceslike housing and transportation.You personally mayhave felt this trendlike a rubber band that'sgetting harder to stretch.

Maybe you feel it in yourincreasing deductiblesor monthly premiums.It seems like yourpolicy is covering lessfor the same priceor maybe you feel it in theway added expense are gobblingany raises or bonuses youmight have landed in the past.And with all the dollars we'reputting towards healthcare,everyone in our statestill can't afford it.But it's not as if alot of smart peoplehaven't been trying to innovate.In the last 40 years, we'veattempted all sorts of things.

With managed care inthe '80s and '90s,patients didn't likehow their choicesof which doctor to seeand when was limitedand they pushed back.Health plan spending limits,they were pulled backbecause they didn't seemto constrain spending.Our first attempt atelectronic medical recordsjust didn't reduce costas much as we had hoped.Improved access to qualityand cost information,it does not yet seem todrive substantive changes.Here are some of the factorswe know can pushus over the edge.Healthcare prices rise fasterthan our economy grows.New technologies in healthcaremore often increase costrather than save money.Administrativecosts really add up.More of us at all agesdevelop chronic diseases.Many of us live in places thatmake it hard to be healthy.There are lots of mergersin the healthcare industry,meaning there's less competitionto help reduce prices.And that's just some of them.There is no one factorthat is causing healthcarespending to grow like this.Of course, we could justlet healthcare spendingcontinue to grow.By 2026, we'd be lookingat spending $95 billionon healthcare in our statewith family premiumsreaching $35,000 per family.We'll be spending $30billion on hospitalsand spending on

Medicaid and Medicarewill be twice as high asit is now $40 billion.Of course, we couldall get togetherand try to get thesecosts under control now.With so many differentthings impacting spending,it won't be simple.For starters, we'll need tounderstand we needmore than one solutionbecause there isn'ta silver bullet.Start investing inwhat keeps us healthyincluding public healthand social supports,not just what tries tofix us when we're broken.Make sure the changes we do makeare backed up with good dataabout what actuallyreduce costs.Be serious abouttrying out new ideaseven if they createwinners and losers.Most of us probablydon't expect to be makingtwice as much money in10 years as we are today.And if our incomesand state budgetscan't keep up withgrowing healthcare costs,what are we going tobe missing out on?How far can that rubber bandstretch before it breaks?(soft music)

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