A Nice House or Health Insurance?

Yet another analyst is trotting out the claim that 17 million Americans who do not have health insurance live in households with annual incomes above $50,000 and "could likely afford health insurance."

Oh yeah? Maybe if they had inherited a house to live in. Devon M. Herrick of the National Center for Policy Analysis should consider this: Coverage for myself and my wife is costing me $1,096 per month, enough to pay the mortgage on a median-priced home in many cities in this country.

Don't believe me? Well the National Association of Realtors provides handy charts of median home prices. Suppose you and your spouse are both responsible, self-employed, fifty-something professionals. You have decent credit. With a down payment of just $6,000 and a 30-year fixed mortgage at 6% APR you can buy $188,200 worth of house.

That is the median price of a home in the South. You could afford to go above the median price in such desirable locations as Durham (NC), Pensacola (FL), Nashville (TN), and Atlanta (GA). Remember, median means that half of all houses in those places are going to cost less to buy than health insurance.

But what if you are making somewhere in the range of $55,000 per year? If the cost of your health insurance is equal to your mortgage it could disqualify you from buying a house.

Think of it. A nice house or health insurance? Surely that is proof positive something is seriously wrong with health care.

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