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The Cost of Doing Nothing on Health Care

March 1, 2010
Posted by Susan Weissman

I have basically stopped reading about health care reform. It’s depressing. Plus, what’s the point of reading about ideas that won’t make their way through congress? But yesterday, the New York Time’s article on the consequences of doing nothing stopped me in my tracks. It’s like leaving a train on it’s tracks going 80 miles an hour with no conductor. The train is eventually going to have a wreck. Are we really just going to sit here and watch the crash?

Apparently nearly all health policy analysts and economists of every ideological persuasion agree. The costs are rising, fewer individuals and businesses will be able to afford insurance — we will all be affected directly or indirectly. (I just got a 20% increase for our company insurance program…this is the third year in a row for our group to receive an increase of this magnitude.) Check out these numbers:

The typical price of family coverage now runs about $13,000 a year – premiums are expected to nearly double to $24,000 by 2020, according to the Commonwealth Fund.

The number of people without insurance is expected to increase by more than a million a year according to Ron Pollack, the executive director of Families USA (a Washington consumer advocacy group).

275,000 people will die prematurely over the next 10 years because they do not have insurance (Families USA).

What do you think? Time to get on our knees and pray?

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