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> So, the average American can afford to purchase exactly what they could a couple decades ago.

Sure, if you ignore the cost of health insurance and medical bills. Also if you ignore the cost of higher education.

No, the price index used incorporates both healthcare and education costs.

Source: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Personal_consumption_expendi...

Those numbers don't pass the sniff test. According to that, the adjusted cost of education has gone down!?!?! That clearly ignores college, or is just factually incorrect. I also don't believe that the cost of medical treatment has gone down, although admittedly I don't have numbers to support that assertion.

Price and medical care should be approached as though there's a giant sign that says "Here there be dragons." There are a lot of weird incentives to have multiple prices for the same medical good. For uncompensated care the incentive is to have the price be as high as possible within the bounds of sanity. The prices that insurance companies pay on the other hand tend to be much lower while those same insurance companies have an incentive for a high price for those without insurance i.e. the higher the un-insured pay for procedures the more the insurance company is saving its customers.

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