You might want to take a look at Ramesh Ponnuru’s colum at Bloomberg, pointing out what should be obvious but, sadly, isn’t—that any discussion of wage stagnation that doesn’t include the change in total compensation as a result of rising healthcare costs into account is seriously flawed.
The column has one very good sentence in it: “The American dream isn’t to pay ever-higher health premiums.” As my pathologist buddy reminded me many years ago, for some people it is.
There’s another point that I think should be made that. It might be too subtle but paying more for healthcare insurance is different than other kinds of consumption. When you eat one more cookie or drink one more glass of wine or watch TV on a better set, you feel better. In economic jargon utility increases. When you pay an extra $1, $100, or $1,000 for healthcare insurance, you don’t feel better. You’re betting that you’ll get sick.