Floridians have tough time paying for health care
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12/18/07 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Tuesday | Listen to this entire show:

A new report released today says that nearly 3.9 million people in Florida are in families that spend more than 10 percent of their income on health care.

Kim Bailey is a senior policy analyst with Families USA, the Washington-based health care advocacy group that released the study.

The report, “Too Great a Burden: Florida Families at Risk,” is part of Families USA’s series of reports on every state in the country.

In addition to the large number of people spending more than 10 percent of their income on health care, the study says more than 1.2 million Floridians are in families that will spend more than 25 percent of their pre-tax income on health care.

Also participating on the conference call was Tampa area Democratic Congresswoman Kathy Castor, who has put health care, especially children’s health care, at the top of her agenda. She says the study indicates what has become painfully obvious over the years – that the health care crises in the U.S. goes beyond those who don’t have any insurance.

The report also shows the huge growth in health care insurance premiums since the year 2000.

Abigail Vladeck is with the Human Services Coalition based in Miami – Dade County. She adds the property tax problems in Florida as an additional factor in rising health care costs.

Health care will undoubtedly be as big an issue in next year’s elections as it was in 1992, the last time a president tried to fix the inequities in the system. Since then, HMOs have only prospered, making the topic mandatory for the Democratic candidates; nearly all of them are offering detailed plans for coverage. The Republican candidates generally have emphasized private plans vs. a universal-style health care system.

Castor says she has been reviewing the plans of all of the Democratic presidential candidates.

To review the report for yourself, visit healthyfamilies.org.

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