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Cost of not reforming health care

Sick_pig_cartoon__ollie_crafoord Unless you're fighting off the swine flu, you're probably sick of medical talk. Even then, you likely just want a prescription and to be left alone.

But regardless of how you're feeling, please bear with me a little bit longer as I update you on the effort to reform the U.S. health care system. Yes, it is finally moving on Capitol Hill.

In the wee hours of this morning, the Senate Finance Committee wrapped up its debate over health care.

After the final costs of the Finance Committee's package are computed by the Congressional Budget Office, Senate leaders plan to merge it with a measure approved by the Senate health committee. Full Senate debate is expected by mid-October, which is also when the House should begin action on its own health care reform proposals.

Then comes the conference committee to meld the House and Senate versions. But given all the discussion so far, both sides know pretty much what the other wants and what each will or won't accept.

So we might actually get a bill by the end of the year.

The high cost of no reform: While there's been a lot of attention paid to just how much the revamping of the U.S. health care system will cost, a couple of organizations say that doing nothing also carries an exorbitant price tag.

With impeccable, or perhaps simply lucky, timing, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Urban Institute have released a study that the groups say underscores the financial necessity of reform.

The Cost of Failure to Enact Health Reform: Implications for States says that "if federal reform efforts fail, over the next decade in every state, the number of uninsured will increase, employer sponsored coverage will continue to erode, spending on public programs will balloon and individual and family out-of-pocket cost could increase by more than 35 percent."

According to the study, without health insurance reform expect:

  • Individual and family out-of-pocket costs would increase by more than 35 percent in every state. In the best case, 12 states would see individual and family spending increase by more than 50 percent. 
  • As many as 65.7 million Americans to be uninsured, increasing costs to taxpayers. Today, there are more than 46 million uninsured. Every state would see at least a 10 percent rise in the number of uninsured; the increase would be more than 30 percent in 29 states.
  • Employers paying significantly higher health insurance premiums. In 46 states, employers could be paying more than 60 percent more for health insurance premiums. Employers in 27 states will see premiums more than double.

The report breaks out the coverage and cost estimates for each state. Below is a snapshot of Texas' data. You can see it in larger, clearer detail on page 57. If you live elsewhere, the state projections begin alphabetically on page 14 of the report             .

Texas health care outlook (2) 

In closing, the report's authors conclude that "without significant reform that makes health insurance more accessible and affordable and reduces the rate of health care cost growth over time, the number of uninsured will increase and health care spending will increase dramatically," placing an added burden on taxpayers.

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Sick pig cartoon courtesy Ollie Craaford


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I think most of us will agree that we need some kind of healthcare reform. This bill, however, does not accomplish that task.


Even though it is a very important matter, I think people are just making this way to big of an argument. IT'S JUST HEALTH REFORM, NOT THE END OF THE WORLD PEOPLE!!! It is not dooming people to the grave, it is there to help people live. Once people start thinking about what they are saying, they will probably look into this matter for real, and find out that heath reform isn't so bad after all.


Thanks for the article .People in that 45 million bracket are by no means a fixed group. All it takes for those who think they're a member of a priveledged bunch to slip into the uncovered ranks is one disaster, one accident, one horrible and untimely diagnosis. Wham! Welcome to the ranks.

You'd think they'd want some sort of protection from that..

The thing politicians fail to realize is that even if they come from a state that has a minority supporting the Public Option, once it is implemented, that minority will turn to a majority when neighbor after neighbor, friend after friend begins to tell of the wonders of actually receiving health care free instead of mortgaging the house and sucking their retirement dry in order to pay for Jimmy's football injury or Susie's tonsillectomy. It happens every single day and the ranks of the un and under-insured will grow by the day.

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