Treat It Here, Treat It Now

Over at Health Care Policy and Marketplace Review, Bob Laszewski argues that Barack Obama should hold-off on comprehensive health care reform until Congress reaches some broader consensus and more money is available:

I would argue that if Democrats do go for the whole deal they are likely to run into a political buzz saw and possibly squander the ability to do a more modest bipartisan list of health reform accomplishments that could be the first important steps in a longer-term strategy.

But Laszewki’s argument that a comprehensive reform bill will be too long and divisive can apply to any major piece of legislation. Congress had a difficult time garnering support for the financial industry bail out, but pressed against conservative opposition to adopt what was largely seen as a necessary measure.

Given the burden of growing health care costs on businesses and individuals, health care reform is no less important. In fact, a new report from the New America Foundation underlines the consequences of inaction:

$207.3 billion: amount our economy lost because of the poor health and shorter lifespan of the uninsured.

$24,000: the cost of the average employer-sponsored health insurance plan in 2016.

73: percentage of increase in the average deductible nationwide by 2016.

Moving health care reform to the back-burner will only exacerbate the current economic downturn. As Ezekiel Emanuel points out, “health care costs are the long-term driving force in federal and state budgets. To control the deficit and keep the country solvent, health care must be solved…The new administration must remember that health care is so big — $1 out of every $6 in the economy, dwarfing automobiles and all other economic segments. Everything is affected by health policy, and every decision should be examined for its impact on health care reform.”

But first reform must happen and the in-coming administration won an electoral mandate to transform the health care system.

Sign the petition for affordable health reform NOW, here.