In Hot Pursuit of Health Care Reform

26 02 2009

Declarative language from the right person at the right time can make all the difference in the policy world. In a recent speech before a joint session of Congress, President Barack Obama reaffirm his campaign pledge of swiftly enacting some kind of health care reform this year where he noted that “the cost of our health care has weighed down our economy and the conscience of our nation long enough.  So let there be no doubt: health care reform cannot wait, it must not wait, and it will not wait another year.”

That same night Obama claimed that his budget “includes an historic commitment to comprehensive health care reform – a down-payment on the principle that we must have quality, affordable health care for every American.”

A day later Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada told reporters that ” by the end of this year, I want to do something significant dealing with health care.” Of course, that might be difficult to do without a nominee for Secretary for the Department of Health and Human Services and an ailing Senator Kennedy who chairs the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. No one has been named to run the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services either.

But even if its just an aspirational goal its still  encouraging to hear Reid set such an ambitious time line for health care reform considering how a month ago House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn said, “I would much rather see it done that way, incrementally, than to go out and just bite something you can’t chew,” Clyburn said. “We’ve been down that road. I still remember 1994.” The South Carolina Congressman was referring to President Clinton’s failed attempt to provide universal health care, which in part led to a Republican take over of Congress and the years of the Gingrich Revolution.

In light of new government numbers, however, bold action to bring health care costs down while covering more people could not be more timely. According to the Congressional Budget Office, “the average number of nonelderly people who are uninsured will rise
from at least 45 million in 2009 to about 54 million in 2019.” Another report from HHS, found that health care costs will go beyond $8,000 per person and with the recession gnawing away the nation’s tax base the Medicare trust fund could become insolvent as early as 2016 – three years sooner that originally predicted.

Additionally, every 30 seconds someone files for bankruptcy after incurring expensive medical costs. A 2005 report found another 1.5 million families lost their homes to foreclosure because of health care costs. Plus, its no longer politically inconvenient to push for health care reform since about 7o of the public now support greater government involvement in expanding coverage and bring cost down, according to a new CNN poll.

Incremental reform to the nation’s health care system could be too costly to the economy, but more importantly too risky for the people that depend on it.




One response

1 03 2009

Just passing by.Btw, you website have great content!

Did you know that over 94% of personal computers have hidden corrupt dangerous files with over 150 hidden errors and bugs on them?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: