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$2,900,000,000.00 ($2.9 billion) was spent on national health care in 2005 (the last year numbers are available). This sum represents:

* $6,700 for every man, woman, and child in the United States;

* 16% of the gross domestic product (expected to reach20% by 2015);

* Two times the rate of inflation

* Seven percent (7%) increase in one year; [i]

* Greater sum than any other industrialized nation including those that provide health care to all of their citizens;

* Number one cause of personal Bankruptcy in the United States—unpaid medical bills—true for the insured and uninsured.

In 2006, employer paid health insurance premiums increased 7.7%; an employer health plan averaged about $11,400 for a family off our. The yearly premium for a family exceeded the gross earnings for a minimum wage full-time worker ($10,712). The average employee contribution to company-provided health insurance has increased more than 143% since 2000 and personal out-of- pocket costs increased 115% during the same period. Over 47 million Americans remain uninsured. [ii]

Although health care costs in the U.S. account for 16% of the gross national product (GDP), health care costs result in 10.7% of the GNP in Switzerland, 10.7% in Germany, 9.7% in Canada, and 9.5% in France. [iii] Although hard to believe, at least in 2005, health care spending was 4.3 times the amount spent on national defense. [iv]

How Good Is Our Health Care Anyway?

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[i] Catlin, A,C. Cowan, S. Heffler, et al, “National Health Spending in 2005.” Health Affairs 26:1 (2006): 142-153.

[ii] For general information see: The National Coalition on Health Care 1200 G Street, NW, -Suite 750 Washington, DC 20005;

[iii] Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development

[iv] California Health Care Foundation. Health Care Costs 101 — 2005. 02 March 2005.

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