Board of Economists: Business, Heal Thyself

With health-care costs soaring, a TIME round table takes a look at the causes--and some possible cures

Like it or not, just about every U.S. company is in the health-care business, one way or another. Employer-sponsored health plans are a treasured benefit for American workers and, for their bosses, a valuable tool for luring the best people. But double-digit growth in health-care costs, coupled with an uncertain economic future, has pushed many businesses to look for new ways to cut their health-care costs.

Strategies vary, but the result is to shift more of the direct costs to employees. This year 9% of large employers, including Ford and Sears, announced that they would scale back health benefits for retired...

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