What They're Saying About Our Report on Health Costs and Wage Stagnation

CAHC and Willis Towers Watson's report showing impact of rising health costs on take-home pay cited by Washington Post, Axios, others

WASHINGTON, DC (September 10, 2018): The Council for Affordable Health Coverage and Willis Towers Watson recently released Health Care USA: A Cancer on the American Dream. The report, co-authored by renowned health care consultant Sylvester Schieber and Steven A. Nyce, director, Willis Towers Watson's Research and Innovation Center, depicts how rising health costs have eroded Americans' paychecks, taking up an ever-increasing share of workers' total compensation and exacerbating income inequality.

The full report and an executive summary are available online. Here is what national media and key stakeholders had to say about the report's findings: 

Washington Post, "Where Did Our Raises Go? To Health Care" (Opinion Column by Robert Samuelson) - September 2, 2018
"Money once reserved for wage increases is now diverted to pay for employer-provided health insurance. A new study provides stunning estimates: For the bottom 60 percent of U.S. workers, wage gains have been completely wiped out by contributions for employer-provided health insurance ... We’d all like both cheaper health insurance and higher wages, but the way the health-care system is operating today, we might get neither. As insurance premiums get more expensive, inflation-adjusted ('real') wages will continue to stagnate or decline ... By accident, health care has become labor policy and economic policy. We may all be among the injured." 

Axios, "How Health Insurance Contributes to Income Inequality" - September 5, 2018 
"As workers' overall compensation has risen since 1980, health benefits have taken up a big piece of the pie for lower- and middle-income workers. Wealthier workers, meanwhile, have seen bigger gains in their paychecks, according to a report by the Council for Affordable Health Coverage ... Health care coverage is compensation that workers don't get in the form of wages. The employer insurance system tends to mask the cost of health insurance, but this report highlights how workers still pay for it indirectly — and how this contributes to the growing gap between the rich and the poor."

Washington Examiner, Healthcare costs cut into wage growth for workers, report says -September 4, 2018
"Rising healthcare costs are taking a hit to take-home pay for U.S. workers, a new analysis released Tuesday found ...The average U.S. health expenditure was $10,348 per person in 2016. It also found that in 2001 employers allocated 41.9 percent of benefits to healthcare and 58 percent to retirement benefits. But by 2015, the split was in the other direction as 63.5 percent was for health benefits and 36 percent for retirement, the report found."

The Epoch Times, Rising Health Care Costs Create Barrier to American Dream, Experts Say - September 5, 2018 
"Because of the regressive effects of higher health premiums on wages, the lower-earners suffered more financial pain than higher earners. The study shows that for the bottom 60 percent of U.S. workers, higher health premiums have completely wiped out pay increases. The report also lays out the dynamics driving health cost increases, which include 'the growing consolidation of health care services, the regulatory approval process and patent protections for drugs, and inefficient or even harmful practice patterns in the delivery of health services.' There has been significant consolidation of hospitals and other health service providers in recent years. According to the study, consolidation between competitors substantially increased prices without improving quality or efficiency. "

Dr. Atul Gawande, Founder of Ariadne Labs, surgeon at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, & Professor at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Harvard Medical School (via Twitter)
"The whole report ... is worth reading."


About the Council for Affordable Health Coverage
The Council for Affordable Health Coverage (CAHC) is a broad-based alliance with a primary focus: bringing down the cost of health care for all Americans. CAHC promotes policies that lower health costs through increased competition, informed consumers and more choices. Learn more at CAHC.net

About Willis Towers Watson
Willis Towers Watson (NASDAQ: WLTW) is a leading global advisory, broking and solutions company that helps clients around the world turn risk into a path for growth. With roots dating to 1828, Willis Towers Watson has more than 40,000 employees serving more than 140 countries. We design and deliver solutions that manage risk, optimize benefits, cultivate talent, and expand the power of capital to protect and strengthen institutions and individuals. Our unique perspective allows us to see the critical intersections between talent, assets and ideas — the dynamic formula that drives business performance. Together, we unlock potential. Learn more at www.willistowerswatson.com.