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Surprising Science

Will Health Insurance Cost the Average American $30k Per Year in 2020?

July 1st marked the 100th day since Congress passed the Affordable Care Act, a major part of the Obama administration’s health care overhaul. The same day, the administration unveiled a new Web site, which aggregates information on public and private insurance plans for consumers. According to The New York Times, the Obama administration’s performance on this other initial changes has many optimistic about the success of the bill. 

But doctor and public health expert Jay Parkinson told Big Think today that, regardless of the success or failure of this and other initial changes, the health care overhaul misses the mark. “First of all, a lot of people are calling this health care reform, but it needs to be called health insurance reform,” he said.”The cost of health care isn’t managed in this bill, so premiums are still going to rise at an exponential rate.” Dr. Parkinson, who is the co-founder of Hello Health, forecasts that “in 2020 premiums are going to be $30,000 a year for the average premium, more than most people’s annual salaries!” 

The Times also reports that, on July 1, judges heard the first arguments in the case against health reform’s most contentious provision—the mandate that all individuals must have health insurance. Twenty-one states have filed to challenge the bill, claiming that it unconstitutionally extends Congress’s ability to regulate interstate commerce. Parkinson did not question the legality of this provision but he did question the logic of “mandating something that no one will be able to afford.”

Parkinson also mentioned that doctors are worried about the government mandating all health care providers to accept Medicare, a provision which has already been introduced in Massachusetts. Doctors face a 21 percent pay cut from Medicare in December, which has led many to limit or drop Medicare patients altogether. Forcing doctors to accept the lower Medicare prices would be tantamount to making all doctors employees of the state, some say.


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