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Infographic: See How Much Your Health Care Costs Are Rising

We're all spending more dough on staying alive.

A significant part of the growth came from personal spending on health care as insurance premiums continue to rise, meaning a lot of that growth wasn't very productive. That health care costs are rising—and rising faster than most other expenses—is a problem that businesses and policymakers have struggled with for years: It's the major cause of federal budget deficits and the reason behind the health care law passed in 2010.

While the effects of the Affordable Care Act on private health care costs remain to be seen—many of its provisions will not go into affect for another two years—health care economists like Harvard's David Cutler say it draws on nearly every idea that exists to lower costs. But Cutler adds that while we wait for pilot programs to succeed and scale or fail, more changes to the system—including a public insurance option and further incentives for health providers to reform delivery—should be on the table.


While policymakers in Washington and state capitals wait on politics and legal challenges to the 2010 law, consumers can take action themselves to lower costs. Innovative health care companies are coming up with new ways to make cost savings easier to find. Simplee, a company that creates products to make it easier for consumers to track their health spending, made this infographic for GOOD to demonstrate how rising costs in this sector affect us all.

Infographics

A two-minute television ad from New Zealand is a gut punch to dog lovers who smoke cigarettes. "Quit for Your Pets" focuses on how second-hand smoke doesn't just affect other humans, but our pets as well.

According to Quitline New Zealand, "when you smoke around your pets, they're twice as likely to get cancer."

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via Bossip / Twitter

Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders took aim at former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg onstage at Wednesday's Las Vegas Democratic debate, likening the billionaire businessman to President Donald Trump and questioning his ability to turn out voters.

Sanders began by calling out Bloomberg for his stewardship of New York's stop and frisk policy that targeted young black men.

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via United for Respect / Twitter

Walmart workers issued a "wake up call" to Alice Walton, an heir to the retailer's $500 billion fortune, in New York on Tuesday by marching to Walton's penthouse and demanding her company pay its 1.5 million workers a living wage and give them reliable, stable work schedules.

The protest was partially a response to the company's so-called "Great Workplace" restructuring initiative which Walmart began testing last year and plans to roll out in at least 1,100 of its 5,300 U.S. stores by the end of 2020.

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