Not to mention the human cost in lives. We lose on average the equivalent of 9-11 every month to the lack of health care.Yes, you read that right.. 2,500 people a month die from the lack of quality health care in this country.
Yesterday, in the New York Times there was a great article about The Cost of Doing Nothing. written by Reed Ableson.
Some of the more important parts that I want to share are:
Suppose Congress and President Obama fail to overhaul the system now, or just tinker around the edges, or start over, as the Republicans propose — despite the Democrats’ latest and possibly last big push that began last week at a marathon televised forum in Washington.
Then “my health care” stays the same, right?
Far from it, health policy analysts and economists of nearly every ideological persuasion agree. The unrelenting rise in medical costs is likely to wreak havoc within the system and beyond it, and pretty much everyone will be affected, directly or indirectly.
“People think if we do nothing, we will have what we have now,” said Karen Davis, the president of the Commonwealth Fund, a nonprofit health care research group in New York. “In fact, what we will have is a substantial deterioration in what we have.”
Emphasis is mine because I wanted to make sure everyone saw what was said. The consequences of doing nothing is things will just get worse. Much worse.
Nearly every mainstream analysis calls for medical costs to continue to climb over the next decade, outpacing the growth in the overall economy and certainly increasing faster than the average paycheck. Those higher costs will translate into higher premiums, which will mean fewer individuals and businesses will be able to afford insurance coverage. More of everyone’s dollar will go to health care, and government programs like Medicare and Medicaid will struggle to find the money to operate.
“It will break all of our banks if we do nothing,” said Peter V. Lee, who oversees national health policy for the Pacific Business Group on Health, which represents employers that offer coverage to workers. “It is a course that is literally bankrupting the federal government and businesses and individuals across the country.”
Even those families that enjoy generous insurance now are likely to see the cost of those benefits escalate. The typical price of family coverage now runs about $13,000 a year, but premiums are expected to nearly double, to $24,000, by 2020, according to the Commonwealth Fund. That equals nearly a quarter of the median family income today.
All of this is just exactly what the President has been saying for months and months and what Democrats have been saying for years. However Republican's have been saying NO, NO, and NO, and last Thursday during the Health Care Summit at Blair House, all they could say was "Kill The Bill" and "Start Over".
Starting over and killing the bill is not an option at this time. We have invested too much time and too much sweat and tears into this to kill it and start over.
I asked my mother one day, about this obsession the Rethugs seem to have with the number of pages in the bills.. and she said she didn't remember them or anyone ever being this focused on the number of pages as they have been. They did the same thing with the Recovery Act and now with the Health Care Bill, constantly reminding people how many pages it is.. printing them out and piling them up.. What they fail to tell people is they only print on one side, and usually it is only about half or three-quarters of the page the rest is addendum's and footnotes. But, back to the article
“It’s also cramping our economic growth,” said Frank McArdle, a consultant with Hewitt Associates, which advises large employers and reported on the need for change for the Business Roundtable, an association of C.E.O.’s at major companies. Spending so much on health care is “really a waste of people’s money,” Mr. McArdle said.
The higher premiums will also persuade more businesses, especially smaller ones, to decide not to offer insurance. More people who buy coverage on their own or are asked to pay a large share of premiums will find the price too high. It doesn’t take too many 39-percent increases, like the recent one proposed in California that has garnered so much attention, to put insurance out of reach.
“We have an affordability problem that is moving up through the middle class now,” said Paul B. Ginsburg, the president of the Center for Studying Health System Change, a nonprofit Washington research group.
Once again, this backs up what the President and the Democrats have been saying for months and years. Why do people continue to deny this is true? Why can't people see this is happening?
While estimates vary, the number of people without insurance is expected to increase by more than a million a year, said Ron Pollack, the executive director of Families USA, a Washington consumer advocacy group that favors the Democrats’ approach. The Urban Institute, for example, predicts that the number of uninsured individuals will increase from about 49 million today to between 57 million and 66 million by 2019. The Democrats’ plan is expected to cover as many as 30 million individuals who now are uninsured.
That is just unacceptable. How can we allow this to happen? We can't.... we have to make sure this gets fixed.
There will be a cost in lives, too. Mr. Pollack’s organization estimates that as many as 275,000 people will die prematurely over the next 10 years because they do not have insurance. Even people with insurance will find their coverage providing much less protection from financial catastrophe than it does now. Individuals will pay significantly more in deductibles and co-payments, for example. “More and more families will experience huge debts and bankruptcies,” Mr. Pollack said.
As I stated before.. 275,000 over 10 years... the numbers are sometimes a little different but that works out to 2,291 a month.... the equivalent of 9-11 every month dying because of a lack of health care. Think about that..
“If we fail this time, you’re not going to get this Congress to take this up on a big scale,” said Len Nichols, a health policy analyst at George Mason University who says he thinks the Democrats should go ahead and pass legislation.
But few policy analysts think Congress can afford to do absolutely nothing. Lawmakers are instead likely to try a series of smaller fixes, said Stuart Butler, a health policy analyst at the Heritage Foundation, a research group that favors market solutions over a larger government role.
After President Bill Clinton failed to get Congress to pass his health care bill in 1994, Republicans, who then had substantial victories in the House and Senate, worked with him to pass legislation like the health care privacy bill, a children’s health insurance program and the Balanced Budget Act, which contained significant changes to the Medicare program. Under President George W. Bush, the Republicans went on to pass a drug benefit under Medicare. “In the space of less than 10 years, you have several major bills,” Mr. Butler said.
Yet, still they didn't pay for anything and didn't cover anyone new. The Medicare D plan is good, but again, not paid for, and there is such a huge gap in coverage that we need new legislation to fix it. This is where part of the deficit comes from that everyone seems to be worried about. But of course that Rethug amnesia kicks in and they forget these facts.
If nothing passes now, Mr. Butler says he thinks Congress will tackle narrower areas, like insurance regulation, to make it easier for people with pre-existing medical conditions to find coverage, or maybe it will try another expansion of Medicaid or the children’s program.
But President Obama clearly prefers passage of a broader bill. In wrapping up Thursday’s session with lawmakers, he and other Democrats warned that an incremental approach was likely to provide too little relief to the people already feeling the effects of a broken system. “It turns out that baby steps don’t get you to the place that people need to go,” he said.
And even some people without a partisan point to make argue that the series of bills passed in the last 15 years have not made enough of a dent in slowing down medical costs. “We’ve had a lot of incremental reforms already,” said Mr. McArdle, the Hewitt consultant.
And many argue that putting off the inevitable has an additional cost. The Commonwealth Fund estimates that the nation would be spending hundreds of billions of dollars less than it does today if any of the health care legislation proposed by previous administrations had been enacted, assuming that they reduced costs by about 1.5 percentage points. If President Nixon’s plan had passed, the United States might be spending a trillion dollars a year less than it does now, and President Clinton’s plan would have reduced spending by some $500 billion a year.
“It makes a huge difference over a long period of time,” said Ms. Davis of the Commonwealth Fund.
This last section was the real money quote.. they have studied this and look what they have found... How much would the spending have been reduced if this had been done years ago when Teddy Rooseveldt tried it.. or Harry Truman?
We have to make sure this gets done. If you haven't called your Senator or your Representative, even if they are a Rethug, call them.. It is only a phone call and you will let them know how you feel. After what I heard Thursday, I think there are a lot of Rethugs getting phone calls now saying you don't really speak for me.. because I don't want you to kill this bill and I don't want you to start over.
Giving credit where it is due... Bob Cesca pointed me to this article.. He did a small write up on it at his place and I wanted to share it with all of you.
I hope you are as enlightened as I was and enjoyed the reading of it. I have posted most of it here, but you can read the entire article at the link above. Let's get this done folks.. Let's get the tweaks done by a simple majority and get this on the President's desk for his signature.