U.S. Companies To Pay 10% More For Health Benefits in 2006

A new study on health care costs for U.S. companies was released this morning by Hewitt Associates:

For 2006, Hewitt expects health-care costs to rise 9.9 percent on average”¦health care is growing about three times faster than wages, the survey showed.

Skyrocketing health care costs are crippling companies like GM:

GM reported Tuesday it lost $1.1 billion in the first quarter, its largest quarterly loss in more than a decade, and it cited the cost of providing health coverage for its workers and retirees as a main culprit.

Workers also suffer:

Wage increases are expected to be about 3.6 percent, while contributions and out-of-pocket expenses are projected to rise 11.6 percent. For a person who makes $40,000 per year, that increase in health-care costs would take out about 23 percent of their overall salary gains.

American Progress has a plan to address this challenge by providing affordable health-care for everyone. (And we propose a way to pay for it.)

But let’s not talk about that. What this country really needs is more tax cuts for the rich.