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Jill Greenberg Headshot

This is Ridiculous

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Who likes to go to the doctor? I don't. Aside from my fear of bad news, needles and old magazines, when you get to the end of the visit you have to pay. Then comes the whole insurance thing -- did you get this form, they will pay for this and not for that, only to find out your insurance is paying less and it is costing you more than it did the last time.

It's just a little nuts that health care costs so much. And we can only hope that politicians come together to find solutions to this. But until then, we are all stuck.

It's not just you and me. This is happening to everyone as the cost of health care is skyrocketing for everyone. Over the last 30 years, the cost of health care has grown 2.5 percent faster than the Gross Domestic Product. Health care costs are increasing at a level that far surpasses the growth in our economy. Yikes.

Even for the few dozen people who had the foresight to make a plan long ago on how much money they needed to live, health care has become a monster that is rapidly eating their fixed income, maybe even sometimes forcing tough choices between health care and other basic stuff. And those are the smart people who planned for their retirement. What about those who haven't? Or those who have but have seen one unexpected thing wreck their plan? There some really heartbreaking stories out there.

Some might think Medicare is the easy answer, but not exactly. Medicare premiums have doubled since 2000 and Social Security has not kept up with these increases. As premiums go up, more Medicare doctors are threatening to leave the system. Higher premiums and fewer doctors are especially silly when you consider that special interests are getting paid handsomely -- billions of dollars in excess payments over the next 5 years -- to provide coverage to less than 1 in 5 people in Medicare. It's kinda ridiculous and exceedingly unfair that everyone that uses Medicare is funding these over payments.

What can be done? Congress can step up to keep Medicare strong, limit cost increases and make the program fair for everyone. It won't solve everything that's wrong with the visit to the doctor, but it certainly seems like a good first step to ensuring that people of all ages can afford their health care. Ask your member of Congress to end the ridiculousness.