While unemployment keeps climbing, and the average salaries and household incomes actually drop while the cost of living keeps rising, health care spending per capita in the U.S. increased 36 percent in the last decade.
In 2000, the cost of heath care divided by every person in the U.S. population was $6,177 per person. In 2010, that jumped to $8,402. That reflects a 50% increase in total health care spending in the U.S. from $1.75 billion to $2.59 billion in those 10 years.
During the same period, inflation-adjusted pay went down approximately 6.4 percent, from $28,293 per capita in 2000 to $26,487 in 2010. If our salaries had grown proportionately with what we spend on healthcare, the average salary would have gone up from 38,293 to $38,478, not down. And the average household income would have gone up from $72,339 to $98,381, instead of down to $67,530.
These are the findings by the George Washington University School of Media and Public Affairs’ Face the Facts initiative, a project launched 100 days before the Nov. 6 election to shed light on the truth, one fact a day, around the issues that are shaping the race. And healthcare is going to be one of the main topics.
President Barack Obama’s Affordable Healthcare Act (ACA) is popular with Hispanics, which are uninsured or under-insured at a higher rate than the general population. Earlier this month, more than 47 million women in the United States gained access to additional preventative health care options under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The Department of Health and Human Services states that provisions effective as of August 1 include no-cost HPV testing, HIV screening, breastfeeding support, and preventative services for gestational diabetes.
Senator Robert Menendez says the expanded coverage — which exists without co-pays, deductibles or co-insurance requirements — is proof the ACA is making a positive impact in the lives of Hispanics, a demographic disproportionately affected by cervical cancer, gestational diabetes and HIV.
“Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, millions of Hispanic women now have access to more free preventive health care services unique to their needs, including well-visits, vaccinations, and education, leading to prevention, early detection and thus, lower health care costs and better overall health,” he said in a statement.
Republican leaders call it a mandate and presumed candidate Mitt Romney has vowed to work to repeal ACA the day after he is elected. And the debate over Medicare is likely to take center stage during the next three months, now that Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan has been named the running mate for Romney. Ryan’s proposal to turn the Medicare program into a voucher system has drawn some harsh criticism and is an issue that will be used by the Democratic Party to criticize the extremism of the Romney/Ryan ticket.
The Obama campaign has already issued statements that the Ryan plan ends Medicare as we know it.