the VOA Special English Economics Report.
care costs are a major concern of Americans. The percentage of people covered
by private health insurance dropped last year. Yet more people had insurance
than the year before.
Census Bureau says that was because of an increase in government health
programs. Government programs covered eighty-three million people last year,
about twenty-eight percent of the nation.
and state programs insure older people, the poor and members of the military.
But unlike other developed countries, the United States does not offer health
insurance to all its citizens.
million people were uninsured in two thousand six. The Census Bureau says that
number fell by more than a million last year. But experts predict that the
current economic downturn will again raise the number of uninsured.
buy health insurance to pay some or all the costs of medical care. But plans
can be costly, and people with existing conditions may not be able to get
coverage at all.
people with insurance may not have enough coverage to pay high medical bills.
The Commonwealth Fund, a research group, says twenty-five million adults are
underinsured. It says that is a sixty percent increase in five years.
United States now spends more than two trillion dollars a year on health care.
Health spending could represent one-fifth of the economy in less than ten
presidential candidate John McCain has proposed tax credits to help pay for
insurance. He also has ideas for ways to make health care more competitive and
less costly. And he has called for a Guaranteed Access Plan to help get
coverage for people who have difficulty getting insurance.
Barack Obama has a plan that he says would guarantee health insurance for all
Americans. It includes a requirement to insure all children. He also proposes a
National Health Insurance Exchange to make it easier to buy private plans or to
continue coverage when changing jobs.
percent of Americans are insured through plans offered by employers. As costs
increase, employers often have workers pay more for doctor visits and other
services. The Mercer consulting company says employee cost-sharing has risen
sharply over the past five years.
reports suggest that next year's cost increase for employers will fall below
six percent, to the lowest growth in more than ten years.
that's the VOA Special English Economics Report, written by Mario Ritter. I'm