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New Report: Prescription for Fixing FL Economy is Fixing Health Care

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February 24, 2009

Fixing Florida's economy should require fixing health care, according to a report just released by the nonprofit organization Health Care for America Now. The report calls for national health care reform, to stop the spiraling costs it says are bankrupting businesses, busting state budgets and blowing family security.

Since 2000, Florida health care premiums have gone up 72 percent, to an average of nearly $13,000 a year for family coverage. At the same time, wages have risen only 20 percent. That has left many Floridians unable to afford health-care insurance. One of them is Jean Berg, who has been a working nurse for nearly 30 years.

"Health care is not an option for me and my co-workers. We do not go to the doctor, we pray that our family doesn't get sick."

Critics say health care reform is not the answer, because it will drive up taxes and drive down the quality of care. However, the report claims there is no end in sight to the burden on Florida families and businesses without a national solution.

A national health care plan would force private insurance companies to put people before profit, according to Richard Kirsch, program manager for Health Care for America Now. The plan proposed by President Obama would both control costs and offer affordable health care coverage for everyone, he says.

"This kind of crazy vicious cycle has got to stop. If we're going to fix the economy, we've got to fix health care. Unless we have a system that provides guaranteed quality affordable health care, that controls costs, our families budget, our employers, our states' economies and our federal economies will suffer."

Gina Presson , Public News Service - FL