THE HEALTH CARE STATUS QUO:
Why Iowa Needs Health Reform
Congress and the President are working to enact health care reform legislation that protects what works about health care and fixes what is broken. Iowans know that inaction is not an option. Sky-rocketing health care costs are hurting families, forcing businesses to cut or drop health benefits, and straining state budgets. Millions are paying more for less. Families and businesses in Iowa deserve better.
IOWANS CAN’T AFFORD THE STATUS QUO
- Roughly 1.9 million people in Iowa get health insurance on the job1, where family premiums average $12,206, about the annual earning of a full-time minimum wage job.2
- Since 2000 alone, average family premiums have increased by 88 percent in Iowa.3
- Household budgets are strained by high costs: 19 percent of middle-income Iowa families spend more than 10 percent of their income on health care.4
- High costs block access to care: 8 percent of people in Iowa report not visiting a doctor due to high costs.5
- Iowa businesses and families shoulder a hidden health tax of roughly $600 per year on premiums as a direct result of subsidizing the costs of the uninsured.6
AFFORDABLE HEALTH COVERAGE IS INCREASINGLY OUT OF REACH IN IOWA
- 10 percent of people in Iowa are uninsured, and 71 percent of them are in families with at least one full-time worker.7
- The percent of Iowans with employer coverage is declining: from 71 to 65 percent between 2000 and 2007.8
- Much of the decline is among workers in small businesses. While small businesses make up 76 percent of Iowa businesses,9 only 39 percent of them offered health coverage benefits in 2006 -- down 2 percent since 2000.10
- Choice of health insurance is limited in Iowa. Wellmark BC and BS alone constitutes 71 percent of the health insurance market share in Iowa, with the top two insurance providers accounting for 80 percent.11
- Choice is even more limited for people with pre-existing conditions. In Iowa, premiums can vary, within limits, based on demographic factors and health status, and coverage can exclude pre-existing conditions or even be denied completely.
IOWANS NEED HIGHER QUALITY, GREATER VALUE, AND MORE PREVENTATIVE CARE
- The overall quality of care in Iowa is rated as “Average.”12
- Preventative measures that could keep Iowans healthier and out of the hospital are deficient, leading to problems across the age spectrum:
- 11 percent of children in Iowa are obese.13
- 21 percent of women over the age of 50 in Iowa have not received a mammogram in the past two years.
- 36 percent of men over the age of 50 in Iowa have never had a colorectal cancer screening.
- 74 percent of adults over the age of 65 in Iowa have received a flu vaccine in the past year.14
The need for reform in Iowa and across the country is clear. Iowa families simply can’t afford the status quo and deserve better. President Obama is committed to working with Congress to pass health reform this year that reduces costs for families, businesses and government; protects people’s choice of doctors, hospitals and health plans; and assures affordable, quality health care for all Americans.