One lesson is already resoundingly clear: the growth of health care spending threatens the sustainability of every other public service, from education, to public health, to infrastructure, to defense.
That’s Zirui Song and Bruce Landon, writing in the New England Journal of Medicine about health care costs in Massachusetts, which has near-universal health insurance coverage.
Among the scary facts:
*In 2012, health care will consume 54% of the state’s entire budget.
*The monthly premium for the most bare bones plan sold in the state’s health insurance exchange increased 57% over the past 5 years.
*Massachusetts spent more than $61 Billion on health care in 2009, which makes it one of the highest-spending states in the country.
Those of us who believe that health insurance should be universal inevitably come face to face with Stanford Professor Victor Fuchs’ dictum that “The capacity of individuals to consume health care is essentially limitless”. The State of Massachusetts is confronting that reality now, and the many cost control initiatives they have underway could be highly informative regarding the feasibility of making universal coverage a reality in the US.
ht: Austin Frakt.