Daily Revolt

June 05, 2007

Candidates Offer Modest Health Reforms for '08

There is no more important issue than health care; nonetheless, very little attention is being given by the candidates to a service that is in crisis:
More Americans without insurance and higher costs have thrust the health care issue into the 2008 U.S. presidential campaign but candidates this time are far less ambitious with their plans than in the past.

While analysts say the debate may increase the chance of modest reform, it likely will not address the deeper flaws that make the U.S. system more costly but less effective than those of most other industrial countries.

Everything is being drowned out by the war in Iraq:
The problems confronting the U.S. health care system have only worsened since the early 1990s, when President Bill Clinton and the Democratic-controlled Congress failed to pass a sweeping overhaul. Republicans then won control.

Costs are out of control, with no end in sight:
People who have health insurance have seen double-digit increases each year for much of the past decade. The average annual premium for an employer health plan for a family of four has risen to nearly $11,500, according to the National Coalition on Health Care.

The number of people without health insurance has grown to nearly 45 million, Census Bureau figures show. People without insurance spend roughly $125 billion on health care annually, with about a third of that amount -- $40 billion -- going unpaid, a debt largely covered by the government, according to a 2004 Kaiser Family Foundation study.

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