A Dozen Disturbing Health Care Statistics

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Most people know the big number: 45 million. That’s the generally accepted tally of Americans currently without health insurance. With the prospect of a public option all but gone, it appears that any change that does occur will pretty much bring more of the status quo—meaning more numbers like these.

10 Percentage increase that most workers will pay for health insurance premiums and out-of-pocket expenses in 2010. This means that since 2001, the share that workers pay for health care will have tripled.

More than 12 Number of states where lawmakers are currently trying to pass legislation outlawing any requirement that everyone must have health insurance or be subjected to fines.

38 Percentage of unemployed Americans who are eligible and who signed up for health insurance through COBRA after Congress began subsidizing 65 percent of COBRA premiums in 2009. Before the subsidy, only 19 percent of those eligible signed up.

131 Percent that health insurance premiums have increased in the last ten years.

$6,000 Amount that one journalist who used to cover the insurance business estimates he’ll save this year by not buying health insurance.

$15,000 Amount that Medicare spent in 2006 per enrollee in McAllen, Texas, which is inexplicably nearly twice the national average.

$30,083 The estimated average that health insurance is expected to cost one family annually as soon as 2019, an increase of 166 percent from current averages.

$2,821,383 Dollar amount of health care provided free of charge recently at the Forum in Los Angeles by Remote Area Medical, a nonprofit operation that’s based in Tennessee and staffed by volunteers. During the eight-day visit to L.A. over the summer, health care workers extracted 2,274 teeth, saved 5,438 teeth, made and gave out 1,984 pairs of eyeglasses for free, and took care of 8,775 general medical visits.

$4,000,000 Amount that a typical 22-year-old worker can assume he and his employer will spend for health care and insurance over his lifetime.

9,000,000 Estimated number of self-employed workers who essentially pay a tax on insurance premiums because they are not eligible for the kinds of deductions that workers employed by big corporations get on their health insurance policies.

13,000,000 Approximate number of Americans ages 19 to 29, or roughly one-third of all in this age bracket, who do not have health insurance. This group has the highest uninsured rate, by far.

$1.1 Trillion The high end of the estimated amount (one-third to one-half of $2.2 trillion) that is spent annually in the U.S. on unnecessary medical tests, treatments, and doctors’ visits.