Amid health care picketing, study details rising cost of premiums

RALEIGH — North Carolinians have seen their health insurance costs rise five times faster than their salaries over the last decade, according a new report released this morning that will likely add more fuel to the health care debate.

The report found that health care premiums in the state rose 96.8 percent from 2000 through 2009, while median individual earnings rose by 18.4 percent, according to the study by Families USA and by Action for Children North Carolina.

“Rising health care costs threaten the financial well-being of families in North Carolina and across the nation,” said Ron Pollack, executive director of Families USA. “If health care reform does not happen soon, more and more families will be priced out of the health coverage they used to take for granted.”

The study comes at at time when there is intense national debate in Congress over President Barack Obama’s proposals to overhaul the health care system.

In recent days, supporters and opponents of health care changes have jammed town hall meetings on health care in Rocky Mount, Lillington and Durham. Last Friday, 250 opponents picketed the the Raleigh offices of Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan.

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