What effect will the current governmental initiatives that focus on expanding health care coverage to more Americans have on health care costs and health care services in the United States?
Expanding health insurance coverage to the more than 45 million uninsured Americans is a key U.S. policy goal, but expanding coverage without steps to contain rapidly rising health care costs is a recipe for failure. [ For years, federal initiatives to reform health care focused mostly on expanding the proportion of Americans covered by health insurance. That is a key part of this year’s health
reform agenda, but most policymakers recognize that provisions to address rising health care spending are an important component of health care reform.
President Obama and his budget director, Peter Orszag, continually stress the importance of lowering the trend of health spending increases. In early May, a consortium of key health care stakeholders responded by pledging to help reduce rising health care costs by 1.5 percentage points per year for 10 years, with estimated savings of $2 trillion over this period. Few health care experts have confidence that such voluntary efforts can slow the trend by a substantial amount, but the pledge by organizations representing physicians, hospitals, insurers, drug makers, device makers, and organized labor is important, reflecting the emerging consensus that controlling health care costs is essential to ensuring access to affordable health care coverage. ]
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