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Expert warns of healthcare bubble

The Times-Tribune, August 30, 2011

Healthcare is facing an economic bubble similar to the one the housing industry experienced a few years ago, said Nathan Kaufman, a nationally known expert on healthcare strategies. As healthcare costs continue to rise, more people, companies and the government can't afford the costs, and the impact falls on physicians and hospitals, Mr. Kaufman said. He believes the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will accelerate the healthcare crisis rather than solve it since it promises benefits that the government can't afford. Kaufman, managing director and founder of San Diego, CA-based Kaufman Strategic Advisors, predicts more companies will follow Verizon and propose to charge employees more for health insurance. Verizon spends $4 billion annually to cover about 800,000 employees, retirees and their families. The issue was one reason 45,000 Verizon workers throughout the East Coast picketed in a 15-day strike. "From 2001-2011, the total cost of delivering healthcare to a family of four has doubled. More and more companies can't afford the premiums and higher deductibles for their employees. Employees can't afford the deductibles," Kaufman said. "People think this problem is primarily related to the uninsured, but it isn't. In 2007, 64% of all personal bankruptcies were related to unpaid health care bills and 75% of those people had health insurance."