Health Insurance Premiums Will Surpass Median Household Income in 2033: Study

Experts say what kind of care should be covered, not who pays for it, is the real issue

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One example cited in the paper: Medicare recently added coverage of the prostate cancer drug Provenge (sipuleucel-T), which will cost an estimated $93,000 for treatment to increase life expectancy by four months.

Young also believes in a greater reliance on family physicians and other primary-care doctors instead of more costly specialists, and in being more prudent in what tests are ordered.

Although much of the debate over health care has focused on who is paying for it -- single payer, private insurance or public insurance -- Young said that an even more fundamental discussion has to take place about what sort of health care should be provided, regardless of who is paying.

"Who writes the checks isn't the problem," he said. "The problem is a deeper sense of what the health care system should be and what kinds of things doctors should treat."

More information

The Kaiser Family Foundation has more on trends in health-care costs.

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