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Study: Florida Health Care Costs "Too Great to Bear"


Wednesday, April 29, 2009   

More than four million Floridians will spend above 10 per cent of their incomes on health care this year, and more than one million will spend higher than 25 per cent. The figures are from a report just released by the consumer watchdog group Families USA. The study found that the portion of family income people spend on health care has gone up 70 percent since the year 2000, and Florida Congresswoman Kathy Castor says these runaway costs must be stopped.

"It is a middle-class cost crunch. These are working families being squeezed to the breaking point. The escalation in premiums is simply too much for families to bear."

The study found increasing insurance premiums forced employers to choose between dropping coverage altogether or reducing coverage and increasing the amount employees pay. The result: greater out-of-pocket expenses for Florida families, and more people calling for health care reform. But critics say health care reform would cut quality without necessarily cutting costs.

Ron Pollack, executive director of Families USA, says however that reform must come.

"Florida families are hit hard in the wallets because of skyrocketing health costs. The growing burden of health care is a clear signal that health care reform is long overdue."

Doug Martin is the legislative director for AFSCME, the union that represents state and municipal workers. He says the current system is a burden on both workers and business owners.

"The current system costs so much money to the government, to private business, to individuals, yet still does not adequately provide health care for everyone. "

Martin says health care costs put American companies at a financial disadvantage in the international marketplace, where many countries have national health care. He says the union has joined the coalition called Health Care for America Now, supporting the President's plan for a better health care solution.

There's more information at www.familiesusa.org

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