In the early 90’s, my parents opened a private psychology practice in Colorado, and obtained individual health insurance for themselves and their four children. The bill was about $200/month. Six years later, when my father decided to switch back to a salaried position, their health insurance bill was nearly $800/month, and by then only my two younger siblings were on the policy with my parents – my brother and I were on our own plans. While their income had increased over the six years, it had not quadrupled – not even close.
In 1993, when Hillary Clinton was pushing for universal health coverage, her ideas were met with widespread resistance. It might have been a good idea – or maybe not – but it wasn’t the right time. The economy was headed in the right direction, health insurance was reasonably affordable (and most employers offered coverage to their employees with a not-too-painful payroll deduction), and people didn’t want to hand health care over to big government.
Now, 14 years later, the tide has turned when it comes to health care. Polls indicate that the majority of people favor government financed health insurance for everyone, and people are willing to pay higher taxes to ensure that every American has health insurance.
Every major presidential candidate has gotten on board with a health care reform plan, or will do so in the near future. As expected, the Democrats tend to favor a more far-reaching government sponsored universal health plan, but even Republicans – who normally prefer to leave private business alone – are talking about ways to insure the uninsured and make health insurance more affordable for everyone.
And people are very receptive to the changes this time around. Perhaps health insurance premiums that rival mortgage payments have something to do with the change of heart?