Graphics on Why Health Reform

From the Baucus plan:

“The U.S. is the only developed country without health coverage for all of its citizens.3 An estimated 45.7 million Americans, or 15.3 percent of the population, lacked health insurance in 2007 – up from 38.4 million in 2000.4 Those without health coverage generally experience poorer health and worse health outcomes than those who are insured. Twentythree percent forgo necessary care every year due to cost. And a number of studies show that the uninsured are less likely to receive preventive care or even care for traumatic injuries, heart attacks, and chronic diseases. The Urban Institute reports that 22,000 uninsured adults die prematurely each year as a direct result of lacking access to care.”

“Even before the current economic crisis, working families and individuals found their health care in jeopardy as the cost of employer-sponsored coverage rose beyond the means of businesses – particularly small businesses – and workers alike. As Figure 1.2 shows, health insurance premiums have increased faster than wages and inflation for most years between 1988 and 2007. Premiums have increased 117 percent for families and individuals and 119 percent for employers between 1999 and 2008.”

“In a study of global health care systems, journalist and author T.R. Reid found startling cost differences with the U.S. In Japan’s largely private system, the cost for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is less than $100, compared to $1,200 in the U.S. In Switzerland, home to profitable insurance companies and influential pharmaceutical companies, administrative costs represent 5.5 percent of total costs, compared to about 22 percent for coverage purchased in the private insurance market in the U.S.31 While there must be a uniquely American answer to the question of containing health care costs, other countries demonstrate the possibility of success.”

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