On the first of April, my health insurance company will start taking a 21.8% increase in premiums out of my butt. They have not increased services nor do I feel more comfortable that my coverage is any more secure. I know that I am one heart attack away from being dropped and two heart attacks away from bankruptcy. But, that appears to be life in America, so as sure as I walk the sidewalks flanking the roads with half-crazed nuts driving around texting like mad, I guess I can breeze along with health insurance as least half as good as those odds.
Then I got to thinking about what that 21.8% increase really means.
Let’s say the average salary is about $48,000 and an increase of 21.8% represents about $1,000 of POST TAX income that I have to spend on health insurance. That is about 2% of an average salary if you don’t count in taxes or anything like that. If you calculate just on take-home pay, it is more. But, let’s leave it at 2%. (If you make less, that percentage goes way up but even if you make twice as much, the tax is still 1%)
That is a 2% tax increase. Whatever else you may want to call it, it is 2% of your wages that is no longer discretionary. You can’t buy a flat-screen TV with that or an iPad (cause you know you’ll want the big one) or even a good German Shepherd. That is 2% of your income that is a private tax to your insurance company who may or may not cover you when you need it. So, I guess it is more like a 2% of your salary bet on red in Las Vegas.
My Australian friends tell me that for a flat 1.5% of their gross income, they get full health care. And they are happy and healthy, despite their lifestyle (if you’re Aussie, you’re grinning, high-fiving your mates and saying stuff like “no worries” cause you know what I mean.)
2% is a tax increase any way you look at it only we can’t vote those bums out.
Can we keep talking about why universal coverage is too expensive? Seems like we’re already conditioned to pay.