Q: Given today’s serious economic problems, can we really afford to reform our health care system?
A: We can’t afford not to. It’s critical
that we do everything we can to move
forward on reforming our health care
system. The cost of inaction is much
greater than trying to do something.
Today’s out-of-control health care costs
are a major cause of many dire economic
problems our country is now experiencing. What deserves even more attention
is the serious threat this dysfunctional
system poses to the financial security of
most American families—including many
who have health insurance.
That’s right. Spiraling health care costs
are a major threat to your household
pocketbook—right up there with job
insecurity, unaffordable mortgages, and
credit card debt. In fact, medical costs
have become the primary cause of nearly
half of all personal bankruptcies. And
having health insurance doesn’t mean
you’re home free. Three of every four
Americans forced into medical-related
bankruptcies had health insurance.
Some sobering facts: Health insur-
ance premiums have risen three times
more than wages since 1999. The aver-
age family’s employer-sponsored health
insurance policy now costs more than
$1,000 a month, compared with less
than $500 a month just nine years ago.
Premiums have jumped 119 percent.
American consumers spend more of
their disposable income on health care
than on housing, food, or clothing. And
they now spend almost five times more
on health care than they do on gasoline
and oil. Obviously, providing affordable,
quality health care for all means we need
to provide coverage for the 46 million
who are uninsured. But it also means we
need to lower the health care premiums
for those who already have coverage.
PRESIDEN T Jennie Chin Hansen
PRESIDEN T-ELEC T W. Lee Hammond
BOARD CHAIR Bonnie M. Cramer
BOARD VICE-CHAIR F. John Zarlengo
SECRE TARY/ TREASURER Robert Romasco
CLASS OF 2010 Yash Aggarwal, Cora L.
Christian, Bonnie M. Cramer, Joanne
Handy, Richard Johnson, N. Joyce
Payne, Thomas “Byron” Thames
CLASS OF 2012 Leobardo Estrada,
William J. Hall, Mara Mayor, Maeona
Mendelson, Robert Romasco, George
Rowan, F. John Zarlengo
CLASS OF 2014 Gail E. Aldrich, Allen
Douma, A. James Forbes Jr., Hubert H.
Humphrey III, Jacob Lozada, J. David
Nelson, Charles E. Reed
Photo Credits Just Dustin Pages 44–45: Left to right:
Everett Collection ( 5); Columbia Pictures/Everett Collection ( 2); CBS/
Everett Collection; United Artists/The Kobal Collection; Warner Bros./
The Kobal Collection; New Line/Tribeca/The Kobal Collection; Dream-
works/The Kobal Collection; Laurie Sparham/Overture Films.
Big 5-Oh Page 80: Flavor Flav: Bryan Bedder/Getty Images; Vicki
Lawrence: Kevin Scott Hees; Michael Learned: Jim Spellman/WireIm-
age/Getty Images; Joyce De Witt: Jamie Mc Carthy/ WireImage/Getty
Images; Sheena Easton: Bruce Gilkas/ FilmMagic.com; Jessica Lange:
Scott Wintrow/Getty Images; David Hyde Pierce: Walter McBride/
Retna Ltd.; Patrick Duffy: Paul Rider/Bafta/Camera Press/Retna Ltd.
HAVE A QUESTION ABOUT AARP?
Send it to Dear Jennie, AARP, 601
E St. N W, Washington, DC 20049, or e-mail
DearJennie@aarp.org. And check out
Jennie’s blog at www.shAARPsession.com.
Solution to Puzzle on page 64
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