When last I was permanently in America, my wife and I together were paying one hundred twenty dollars a month combined for health insurance with a three hundred dollar deductible. This last August, I finished my doctoral education at the expense of the Canadian taxpayer and returned to the Land of the Free and Home of the Brave. I was once again on my wife's insurance. Only this time, six years later, I found to my shock and dismay, that the co-pay and monthly payment had almost doubled, and the deductible had more than doubled. I was agog. But then, I should have expected this, since over the last two years, I had also noticed that Ontario had added a yearly (income-based) insurance premium onto their provincial income tax and, if the Canadian government was "raising rates," as it were, then surely profit-based insurers would be way out ahead.
So this has convinced me that health-care costs are in all places going up, even where the government is picking up the tab. But then, the government picking up the tab at least enables the state to spread the burden around so that it falls harder on those who can afford it. The appalling degree to which American insurance costs have gone up over the last six years was shocking enough to convince me that *something* needs to be done to bring spiraling health-care costs under control, but my experience with Canada has shown me that even with the government making a full-bore effort, the effect is one of standing against a flood.
In other exciting first hand experiences of news stories, we can see that state universities rely a lot on state tax revenues and that these same universities got into an unhealthy habit of playing the stock market and then putting that playing of the stock market into their annual budgets. That's great in times of growth. But in times of financial crisis, the result of this policy is several canceled job searches and that a university that had been planning on hiring an adjunct lecturer in medieval history couldn't get money released to make said hire. So now it's exciting to experience what exactly this U6 unemployment rater that economists talk about is. And I'm not being all *that* sarcastic--it's amusing explaining to a job interviewer that a PhD in medieval studies does not in fact make one overqualified for an entry-level, unskilled job when the student loan bills are about to start coming due.
As a side-note, I've also gotten to learn first-hand that when one pays into Ontario unemployment for six years as a non-Canadian, one can't draw Ontario unemployment, but then neither can one draw unemployment from one's own state. (But then, since all but one year of my doctoral education were funded by the Ontario government, I don't really have much place to grouse.)
Interesting times. Whee!