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Health Insurance Reform: What’s At Stake

Costs of Health Reform Cover

On Wednesday the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Urban Institute released a study, “The Cost of Failure to Enact Health Reform: Implications for States,” underscoring the urgent need for reform and why inaction is not an option for Americans.   Data for each state are in the study.

Without health insurance reform, within 10 years, we can expect:

  • Individual and family out-of-pocket costs would increase by more than 35 percent in every state.  In the best case, 12 states would see individual and family spending increase by more than 50 percent.
  • As many as 65.7 million Americans to be uninsured-increasing costs to taxpayers.  Today, there are more than 46 million uninsured. Every state would  see at least a 10 percent rise in the number of uninsured; the increase would be more than 30 percent in 29 states.
  • Employers paying significantly higher health insurance premiums. In 46 states, employers could be paying more than 60 percent more for health insurance premiums. Employers in 27 states will see premiums more than double.

This is not just some abstract study that is unreflective of what exists in California. This study (on page 18) indicates that by the year 2019 individual and family spending on health insurance could increase as much as 66.5%. Even in the best case projections, Californians will see an increase of 46.7% in individual and family premium costs.

The study projects that by 2019 as many as 9.77 million Californians will be uninsured and the uncompensated care for these individuals and families will rise as much as 130.7%. Spending for employer based health insurance premiums is projected to rise 103.3% and spending for Medicaid and CHIP may increase as much as 111.7%.  Together the increased spending would inevitably mean higher taxes even without reform. Bottom line, the cost of medical care and the insurance to cover that care are projected to rise to unsustainable levels if we continue to fail to act to resolve this crisis
Last week, the US Census Bureau released the 2008 American Community Survey (ACS) estimates. One of the areas tracked was that of Health Insurance Coverage. Estimates for Orange County show that out of 2.99 million people, 509,391 were uninsured in 2008.

In general, the Republican legislators who represent most of Orange County are oblivious to the impact that Health Insurance Reform would have on the people in their districts, much less the number of people actually living without health insurance coverage. Despite the mantra they keep reciting over and over again, the vast majority of people without health insurance are not uninsured because they do not want insurance. The vast majority are uninsured because they either cannot afford coverage or can’t get coverage.

Congressman John Campbell
Congressman John Campbell

Let’s take Congressman John Campbell and his 48th Congressional District for example. This multi-millionaire probably wouldn’t have trouble paying for insurance, but he doesn’t need to worry about that because he has an excellent government run, and taxpayer funded health insurance plan for himself and his family.

He has no problem lying to the people of his district by claiming that; “the socialized healthcare bill being considered by the House will likely result in tens of millions of Americans dying sooner than they otherwise would have to.”

Campbell has no problem trying to scare the 645,769 insured residents of his 48th Congressional District that; “when the free-market, doctors, and patients are taken out of health care decisions, and the care is paid for by somebody else, the establishment of an organization to ration care is inevitable.” He continues his scare tactic with this gem of a lie; “Your life will hang in the balance, subject to the whims of government and its bureaucrats. This is why the survival rates from cancer, heart disease, and many other life-threatening diseases are 30-50% lower in countries with socialized medicine than they are in countries with private medicine.”

Even with no facts to back up his claims, Campbell is more interested in scaring the people in his district away from any type of Health Insurance Reform, while ignoring the needs of 75,373 residents in his district who are uninsured.Here are the statistics for health insurance coverage in Orange County, CA and the CA 48th Congressional District.

Irvint Councilwoman Beth Krom
Irvine Councilwoman Beth Krom

We asked Irvine Councilwoman Beth Krom, who is challenging Campbell in the 2010 election for her thoughts on Campbell’s possitions and what she would do differently.

“While many in Congress are focused on achieving meaningful healthcare reform, John Campbell, has a different agenda. He remains unwilling to even acknowledge the legitimacy of the issue, despite the fact that well over 10% of the people he represents are either uninsured or underinsured. Job losses have meant loss of benefits. Those with pre-existing conditions are at the mercy of underwriters. The cost to local taxpayers for a system which endorses discriminatory practices by insurance companies is staggering. Yet this is the system Campbell and others would wish to preserve. In the end, it is the American taxpayer who ultimately pays the price for the failure of leadership in Washington.”

Well, looks like we know who stands for who.