By Richard E. Kelly & Mark A. Evans
So what happens if the 2010 Health Care Law is repealed? If the health care system in the U.S. is not broke, why fix it? Right?
The engine that drives U.S. health care is health insurance, which will be an unregulated industry if the law is repealed. Unlike bankers and Wall Street, this industry will then be able to police itself, with no government regulations to get in the way of keeping Americans healthy, at least for those who can afford health insurance.
Unfortunately, there are a few doomsayers. Warren Buffet, for one, warns, “If we repeal the current law and do nothing, everyone’s health care will be in jeopardy. The way we are going, within a decade we’ll spend one dollar out of every five we earn on health care – and we’ll keep getting less for our money. Fixing what’s wrong is a necessity we cannot postpone.
“The high costs paid by U.S. companies for employee health care puts them at a competitive disadvantage internationally. That kind of cost, compared with the rest of the world, is like a tapeworm eating at our economic body.” And feeding his warning are the following facts:
- Health care premiums have doubled in the last eight years at a rate 3.7 times faster than wages have increased.
- The U.S. spends 17% of GDP on health care while the rest of the world spends 9% and it has fewer doctors and nurses per person.
- The average cost per person/year for health care is $6,714 for U.S.; $3,678 for Canada; $3,449 for France; and $2,760 for the UK.
- Half of all bankruptcies are caused by medical bills.
- 25% of all medical spending goes to admin/overhead costs.
- Antiquated paper-based record keeping and information systems needlessly increase health care costs.
- Only four cents on every health care dollar spent is on prevention.
- Many businesses cannot provide health care coverage to its employees as it’s too expensive.
- The constantly rising costs of Medicare and Medicaid could lead to fiscal meltdown in the near future.
- Inefficient and poor quality health care costs the US somewhere between 50 to 100 billion dollars a year.
- Millions of dollars are lost each year due to profiteering, resulting in people paying more without receiving better care in return.
- The number of uninsured is growing at an alarming rate. Today it’s 51 million, up from 46 million 9 months ago. If it balloons to 100 million, could that trigger a U.S. health care crash?
- $2.3 trillion plus was spent on health care in 2008.
One knowledgeable insurance executive checked the facts here cited and said, “To the best of my knowledge, this paper is factually accurate.”
“The case that your paper doesn’t make—and as far as I can tell no one has made—is that the proposed health care reform actually addresses the issues that your paper highlights. I understand that this would require a massive explanation. Personally, it troubles me that the government has not attempted to explain its analysis of the problems you’ve outlined or demonstrate how HCR solves those problems.
“Yes, one can imagine how some of the proposed elements of HCR will help, but it would benefit the American public immensely if the government would thoroughly and explicitly describe the problem, explain all of their root cause analysis, describe the potential solutions they explored, justify the solutions they chose, and connect all the dots between problem and solution elements.”
Okay, so what does one expert know? Once the law is repealed, we’d suggest setting the following two goals to improve health care in America:
- Cut National Health Care Spending by 2 Trillion Dollars in 10 Years
- This includes Medicare and Medicaid
- Provide Quality, Affordable Health Care for all Americans
- Protect families from bankruptcy or debt because of HC costs
- Guarantee choice of doctors and health plans
- Invest in prevention and wellness
- Maintain coverage when a person changes/loses their job
- End barriers to coverage for people with pre-existing conditions
P.S. Oops! I think those were the goals President Obama and his team set for the current 2010 Health Care Reform Law. So why doesn’t the President just explain the damn law so the average American can understand it?