Serious coverage should have come from Byron Pitts' report for CBS on the latest ten-year projections for healthcare costs. By 2016, spending is expected to double, accounting for 20% of the entire economy. The proportion of healthcare costs borne by federal and state governments will hardly rise at all (from 45% to 49%), so planning for the increase is a personal as well as a political problem. But by anecdotalizing, Pitts lost the wood for the trees. He spent so much time on the tribulations of a single widow spending $7,200 each month on ovarian cancer medication that he overlooked the general public policy options.
In NBC's continuing series Trading Places on eldercare, Anne Thompson also looked at the personal finance side of healthcare costs: is it sensible for middle-aged people to buy long-term insurance to cover the $70,000 annual costs of long-term residency in a nursing home? "This type of coverage does not come cheap," Thompson warned before stating the obvious. "You must budget for it because if you stop paying your premiums, you lose your coverage."
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