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PNS Daily Newscast - September 25, 2020 

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Report: Health Care Costs Outpace Earnings for Ohio Workers

September 18, 2009

COLUMBUS, OH - New numbers show health care costs are taking a big bite out of Ohioans' paychecks. A report from Families USA finds that premiums rose 7.2-times faster than earnings in Ohio from 2000 to 2009, with family health insurance premiums jumping over 84 percent and median earnings increasing just 11.7 percent.

Col Owens, co-chair of Ohio Consumers for Health Coverage, says these numbers show how the current system is destabilizing.

"Individual people cannot afford to buy insurance even if it's available. It's becoming less available, particularly in the small business world, and the price is becoming increasingly difficult for business and individuals to afford."

In the absence of health care reform, Owens says, the system is both unaffordable and unacceptable.

"People recognize that this is simply unsustainable, economically, and enormously unfair to our citizens who are working very hard, but who, through no fault of their own, are falling out of this market."

Kathleen Keefe owns a small business in Rocky River, which assists the elderly. She says she's struggled to afford health insurance due to the preexisting condition of an employee, and she feels it's hurting her business.

"I could be making jobs in an economy that needs jobs desperately, but how do I offer someone a job when I'm behind the eight ball because I can't provide them with health care coverage?"

According to the report, customers have seen increasing premiums, with higher deductibles, co-payments, and co-insurance, while the benefits have decreased. Reasons cited in the report for the increasing premiums include wasteful health care spending, loose insurance regulations, a drop in competition, and costs shifted from the uninsured to the insured. Advocates for health care reform say it would ensure all Ohioans have access to affordable, quality care. Some opponents suggest current reform proposals are too expensive and will lead to fewer care choices.

A copy of this report is available at

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - OH