If you think health care costs too much now, wait until 2020

A sk just about anyone who came to Upstate University Hospital and they'll tell you that health care costs are out of control.

" I t's hard for families to survive with the health costs the way they are," Rich Hardy told CNY Central's Jim Kenyon.

A s high as health care costs are today , they're going to get much higher in just nine years, according to a new government report. Medicare's Office of the Actuary studied current health care costs and projected them out to the year 2020, and the numbers are astonishing.

The projection found that the nation's health care tab will hit $4.6 trillion by 2020. To put that in perspective, health care would account for $1.00 out of every $5.00 generated by the American economy. Health care spending in nine years will average $13,710 for every man, woman, and child in the United States.

A s CEO of Upstate University Hospital, Dr. John McCabe says Americans are accustomed to, and have come to expect, high quality health care.

" T he U.S. health system gets dinged for being very expensive, but we also get credit for being one the most advanced... they come with a price." McCabe says.

M any experts say the current and future health care system is unsustainable. They're expected to use this latest report to prove their point and call for major reforms to reduce costs.

" N one of us want to ration care to ourselves or our loved ones." McCabe explains, "So that's the difficulty. When we look at the whole it makes sense... when we look at ourselves, we get kind of scared."

S o what does the head of Upstate University Hospital predict for the year 2020? "I think much of what we think today will happen in 2020... won't happen. There's got to be some corrections along the way."

T he unanswered question is where will those corrections come and who will be affected. What, if anything, do you think needs to be done to reduce health care costs?

Even if you don't go to a doctor, you're still paying for higher health care through your taxes. According to Onondaga County Chief Fiscal Officer James Rowley, the county's portion of state mandated Medicaid costs are currently $94 million dollars. Rowley says that cost will hit $105 million next year. He says that Medicaid alone accounts for two-thirds of all the money collected through the county's property tax levy.

When asked if these health care costs were unsustainable, Rowley replied, "I think that goes without saying, between health care and pension costs, local governments are going to be squeezed substantially."

Rowley adds that state lawmakers need to reform what he says is one of the most generous Medicaid systems in the nation. "They can't afford to provide as rich a plan as they have in the past. They have to look at eligibility criteria, they have to look at the level of services we're providing, and they have to scale them back."