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Book Excerpt: (Not) Keeping Up With Our Parents

We are Well Educated, Well Employed—and Losing Ground.

The souring state of health care has always been an issue for the working poor, but increasingly it’s a middle-class issue, too. More than a third of the uninsured have household incomes over $40,000. Thirty-five percent of households with incomes between $50,000 and $75,000 report having trouble paying medical bills and health insurance. And more than a third of those who carry both insurance and medical debt have either college or graduate degrees. It’s not hard to figure out why health care has become such a precious commodity: Family premiums have increased 87 percent since 2000, compared to an 18 percent rise in inflation and a 20 percent rise in wages. As of 2006, only 61 percent of the population had employer-provided insurance, down from 69 percent in 2000—meaning that more and more people are expected to figure out how to cover the rising costs on their own.