A new gauge of healthcare industry distress was unveiled Friday by a division of Boston University's School of Public Health. The health crisis index combines measures of the percentage of the country without health insurance with the percentage of the economy's spending that goes toward healthcare.
The most recent readings of the index are based on 2003 data and show a crisis level of almost 31%. That's the highest level since 1987 -- the first year for which an index was established and the year the U.S. Census Bureau began tabulating uninsured levels -- and finishes a string of three years of increases in the index.
Alan Sager and Deborah Socolar, directors of Boston University's Health Reform Program, created the index. Sager says the index illustrates that the number of uninsured and levels of healthcare spending are not inversely related, as some people believe.
Healthcare recently has taken a double hit, he said. "It's as if we're suffering 10% unemployment and 10% inflation at the same time," Sager said. View the complete report.