A Growing Travesty

GENERIC health insurance
This column was written by CBS News Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith.

You've heard me rant before about the travesty of millions of Americans who can't afford health insurance - the burden it places on hospitals and communities, and the extra money it costs because many people who can't afford to go to the doctor wait until they are seriously sick and end up having more problems than they should.

The big news this week from the health insurance industry is that premiums only went up this year at a rate of 6.1 percent. That's the slowest increase since 1999.

And according to USA Today, the average family health insurance plan now costs employers more than $12,000 a year, which creates a horrible dilemma for business people.

I know of a trucking company that pays dismal hourly wages, but the employees think the owner is a saint because he pays for all of the health insurance.

Since 2001, health insurance costs have gone up at four times the rate of wages, which puts the squeeze on employees and employers alike.

Harry's daily commentary can be heard on many CBS Radio News affiliates across the country.

By Harry Smith