When it comes to health care coverage, a study by a national nonpartisan, nonprofit group finds Iowans are paying significantly more and getting much less coverage in return. Ron Pollack, executive director of Families U-S-A, says health care is much less affordable to Iowans now than it was just a few years ago. Pollack says “premiums paid by workers rose by almost 41-percent in the last four years,” while earnings have only increased ten to 11-percent, thus, health care premiums have risen almost four times faster than earnings. Nationally, premiums rose about three-times faster than earnings. Pollack says most Americans spend between five and ten-percent of their incomes on health care, but the study finds many Iowans are spending much more. In 2004, more than 150-thousand Iowans had health care expenses that were more than one-quarter of their total earnings. In 2000, that number was 114-thousand. Pollack says premiums, co-pays and deductibles continue to rise while benefits and services dwindle. He says many Iowans are choosing to go without health care, adding, “too many people are losing the health care coverage they used to take for granted.”During 2003 and ’04, more than 668-thousand Iowans went without health care coverage for at least part of those two years, a huge increase from the year 2000. The report was produced using with data from U.S. government sources, including the Census Bureau, the Department of Labor, and the Department of Health and Human Services.
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