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MT Report: Health Insurance Premiums Up 88%

March 4, 2009

Helena, MT – Number-crunching on health care costs in Montana shows medical insurance premiums have increased almost 90 percent since 2000, and other health care costs have sky-rocketed, too. Molly Moody, statewide organizer for Montanans for Health Care, which published the report, says health care expenses are burdening state and local government budgets, overwhelming businesses, and making it tough for families to afford adequate health care.

"We really just have this moment in history to move forward and negotiate health care reform. With our broken economy, a good way to address that is addressing the health care crisis."

The report documents that the average annual premium for family coverage in Montana is almost $12,000, while the median yearly wage is just $22,000. Brian Depew, program director with the Center for Rural Affairs, says that's a good example of how high health care costs drag down the economy.

"The economic burden created by the increasing costs of health care poses particular challenges for rural Montana, the family farmers, ranchers, small business owners."

The Montana report comes out as President Obama is preparing a health care summit to begin Thursday in Washington.

The full report, "Next Step: Health Care - to Fix Montana's Economy, We Need to Fix Health Care Now," is at
www.cfra.org

Deb Courson, Public News Service - MT