Making sense of the health care debate is enough to give anyone a migraine. Albert Einstein famously quipped: “Politics is harder than rocket science.” He didn’t know the half of it.
But don’t be disheartened, now is far from the time to give up!
For starters, even if you have health care, we will all need a price cut shortly. Health insurance costs for large employers increased six percent in 2009. This is on top of a seven percent increase the previous year. According to a survey by health care consultant Towers Watson, 83% of large companies have already revamped their employee health plan, or plan to in the near future.
Remember that oft-touted 46 million Americans without coverage? Well, that’s not true anymore. That was the number of Americans without health care BEFORE the recession. Today that number is closer to 50 million. According to the Center for American Progress, at least 2.4 million Americans have lost health insurance in the past two years.
Don’t forget premiums. We still spend close to twice what any other industrialized nation spends on health care. What’s worse? We are no better off for the money, and we are the only industrialized nation not providing this basic service to all citizens.
As if all that is not enough, we know that health care reform will not only lower the deficit, but will actually INCREASE our own incomes (unless you happen to be an overpaid health care executive) by reducing the cost of coverage.
“I want to have a large meeting, Republicans and Democrats, to go through systematically all the best ideas that are out there and move it forward.”
As Washington ramps up for this summit, let us send our leaders a clear and powerful message: MAKE THIS YOUR LAST MEETING. We will not tolerate stagnation. We expect bold action, and we expect results.
Photo Credit: Center for Disease Control