abokononist-deactivated20120714

When it comes to America’s spiraling health care costs, the country’s problems begin with the 5%. In 2008 and 2009, 5% of Americans were responsible for nearly half of the country’s medical spending.

Of course, health care has its own 1% crisis. In 2009, the top 1% of patients accounted for 21.8% of expenditures. 

The figures are from a new study by the Department of Health and Human Services, which examined how different U.S. demographics contributed to medical costs. It looked at the $1.26 trillion spent by civilian, non-institutionalized Americans each year on health care.

The top 5% of spenders paid an annual average of $35,829 in doctors’ bills. By comparison, the bottom half paid an average $232 and made up about 3% of total costs. 

Aside from the fact that such a tiny fraction of the country was responsible for so much of our expenses, it also found that high spenders often repeated from year to year. Those chronically ill patients skewed white and old and were twice as likely to be on public health care as the general population. 

The graph below looks at how many people remained in each tranche of health care spending in both 2008 and 2009. One fifth of the top 1% of health care spenders in 2008 also were in the top 1% a year later. More than a third of those in the top 5% stayed there both years. image

According to this follow-up chart, elderly patients, aged 65 or older, made up 13.2% of the population in 2009. But they were 42.9 of the patients among the top 10% of spenders in both 2008 and 2009. Middle-aged Americans made up another 40.1% of that category. 

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America’s health care spending crisis is a concentrated phenomenon. The challenge isn’t just about making everybody’s insurance cheaper (although that would be nice). It’s about figuring out how to cut costs, wisely and fairly, for the disastrously ill and preventing diseases before they become chronic. This is America’s 5% problem.

abokononist-deactivated20120714

somepolitics:

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I have presented many graphs and charts on this blog from reliable sources showing that the “trickle-down economic policies, instituted by the Republicans over thirty years ago, have favored the rich, while leaving most Americans stuck in a rut and falling further behind with each passing year. And the richer a person is the more the Republican economic policy favors them.

 

Now the Economic Policy Institute, using figures from the U.S. Census, has produced a graph showing what has happened with hourly wages in the last 36 years (from 1973 thru 2009). As you can see on the above chart, the median hourly wage for workers has grown from $14.73 in 1973 to about $15.96 in 2009 — a growth of only $1.23 (or 8.4%) in 36 years. The growth was much worse for lower-paid workers. A worker in the lowest 20% of earners had an average wage growth from $9.29 to $9.83 — a rise of only $0.54 (or 5.8%). And a worker in the bottom 10% saw growth from $7.70 to $8.05 — a rise of $0.35 (or 4.5%).

 

But the higher on the wage scale a person is, the better they are treated by “trickle-down” policies. A person in the highest 90th percentile of wage earners saw their wages go from $28.19 to about $37.49 — a rise of $9.30 (or 32.99%). And a worker at the 95th percentile saw wages climb from $35.37 to $48.08 — a rise of $12.71 (or 35.9%). But even these salaries pale in comparison to the rise experienced by the richest Americans of all — the top 1% of earners. The Congressional Budget Office pegged their rise in after-tax income at a whopping 275%.



And the congressional Republicans, and all of the Republican presidential candidates, feel that the richest Americans pay too much in taxes (even though their after-tax income has risen by 275%). They want to give these richest Americans even bigger tax cuts than they’ve already received (from the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy).



A perfect example of this is the ridiculous tax plan recently proposed by candidate Rick Perry. His plan would drop the rate on earned income (income actually worked for) for the rich from 35% to a flat rate of 20%. But it gets even worse. His plan would completely eliminate the tax on capital gains income (income derived from stocks, bonds, and other investments0 which is how most of the super-rich make their money. Under the Perry Plan, an investor like Warren Buffett (one of the richest men in the world) would only pay an effective tax rate of 0.2%. How can it possibly be fair for someone that rich to pay less than a 1% tax rate, when people who actually must work to earn an income much pay a much higher rate?



How much more evidence do voters need before they finally realize that the Republican Party cares only for the rich, and their policies benefit only the rich?

seriouslyamerica
whiporwill:

Obama: Warren Buffett Is Right On Taxes

President Barack Obama just endorsed Warren Buffett’s op-ed in the New York Times today calling on higher taxes on the wealthy.
“He said we’ve got to stop coddling billionaires like me,” Obama said at a town hall event in Cannon Falls, MN, a stop on his three-day bus tour. “That’s what Warren Buffett said.”
“He pointed out that he pays a lower tax rate than anybody in his office, including the secretary,” he added. “He figured out that his tax bill, he paid about 17 percent. And the reason is because most of his wealth comes from capital gains.”
“You don’t get those tax breaks, you’re paying more than that,” Obama said.
The president also called for the new Super Committee tasked with $1.5 trillion in deficit cuts to embrace Buffett’s proposals for more substantial savings.
Buffett defended increasing taxes from claims that doing so would hurt the economy, writing: “I would note that a net of nearly 40 million jobs were added between 1980 and 2000. You know what’s happened since then: lower tax rates and far lower job creation.”

whiporwill:

Obama: Warren Buffett Is Right On Taxes

President Barack Obama just endorsed Warren Buffett’s op-ed in the New York Times today calling on higher taxes on the wealthy.

“He said we’ve got to stop coddling billionaires like me,” Obama said at a town hall event in Cannon Falls, MN, a stop on his three-day bus tour. “That’s what Warren Buffett said.”

“He pointed out that he pays a lower tax rate than anybody in his office, including the secretary,” he added. “He figured out that his tax bill, he paid about 17 percent. And the reason is because most of his wealth comes from capital gains.”

“You don’t get those tax breaks, you’re paying more than that,” Obama said.

The president also called for the new Super Committee tasked with $1.5 trillion in deficit cuts to embrace Buffett’s proposals for more substantial savings.

Buffett defended increasing taxes from claims that doing so would hurt the economy, writing: “I would note that a net of nearly 40 million jobs were added between 1980 and 2000. You know what’s happened since then: lower tax rates and far lower job creation.”