The Burden of Health Care Costs for Working Families

The Burden of Health Care Costs for Working Families

Daniel Polsky and David Grande

Health care spending represents a growing share of our national income, and based on current projections, will increase from 16% of the gross domestic product today to 20% by 2018. What does this mean for typical working families with private health insurance, who shoulder the financial burden of maintaining the current system? In this Issue Brief, Polsky and Grande construct a typical health care budget for working families of various income levels, calculate the percentage of total compensation devoted to health care over time, and project how rising health care costs will affect standards of living in the future. Their findings remind us that what works today also has to work tomorrow. Sustainability depends critically on successful cost containment.