Despite the economic downturn over the past five years, health care costs in Massachusetts have continued to skyrocket. Over that period, members of the Retailers Association of Massachusetts — Main Street businesses like grocery stores, restaurants, and jewelers — have endured an average annual increase of 14 percent in health insurance costs for their employees. It is true that the 2012 increases were the lowest over those five years, but that doesn’t mean it’s time to declare victory on costs. We must continue to press for lower premiums, particularly for small businesses.
The fault for excessive costs lies with everyone from hospitals to insurers, policymakers to consumers. The solutions aren’t simple but must be grounded in the principles of consumer transparency and empowerment, rather than continuing to cede control to the health care industry itself, or asking the government to figure it out.