KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Next Year’s Rising Health Costs May Not Be Slowed By Reform

"Employers who offer health insurance coverage could see a 9 percent cost increase next year, and their workers may face an even bigger hit, according to a report Thursday from consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers," the Associated Press reports. Workers concerned about losing their jobs – and their insurance, while it lasts – are using more health care than usual, contributing to rising costs, the report says. As the costs increase, employers are also likely to shift more of the burden to employees. "A total of 42% of employers surveyed said they would increase employees' share of costs," the AP reports.

Health overhaul legislation being considered by Congress this year may be little help to employers and employees in this situation because it "will have little impact on next year's costs" (Murphy, 6/18). 

"President Obama's plan to rein in federal spending on health care could end up shifting costs to the private sector," the Washington Post reports. "Unless doctors and hospitals are able to respond to the government cuts by becoming more efficient, the result could be higher costs for insurers, employers, and people with private medical coverage." While there are many efficient providers currently practicing, a Congressional Budget Office report says experts don't yet know how to spread that efficiency throughout the system. Policy makers won't be able to do so "through fiat or good intentions," the CBO said (Hilzenrath, 6/18).

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