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Word from the White House: The Health Care Status Quo is Unsustainable

The tragic facts about where our health insurance system is, and where it's heading without reform.

It's no secret that institutions of all stripes focus their communications on certain messages day to day. We thought it would all be a little more open and transparent if we went ahead and published what our focus will be for the day, along with any related articles, documents, or reports.

Supporting report: "The Economic Effects of Health Care Reform on Small Businesses and Their Employees," Council of Economic Advisers, 7/25/09

Supporting article: "18,000 Die a Year for Lack of Insurance. Here’s One.," New York Times, 9/12/09

Talking Points: The Health Care Status Quo is Unsustainable.

  • Looking at the numbers, one thing is clear: The status quo of our current health insurance system is unsustainable.
    • Skyrocketing costs are squeezing family budgets, threatening businesses' viability, consuming state and local budgets, and exploding our national deficit.
    • At the same time, eroding coverage is leaving more and more Americans uninsured – one injury or illness away from bankruptcy.
    • And even Americans with insurance have less security and stability than ever before.
  • As a nation, we are currently spending roughly one in every six dollars on health care.  If we do nothing, in 30 years, one out of every three dollars in our economy will be tied up in the health care system.
    • We spend fifty percent more per person on health care than the next most costly nation – with much of it going to insurance bureaucracy that does nothing to improve our health.

Eroding Coverage, Stability, and Security

  • Despite all the spending, tens of millions of Americans live without any coverage at all – one injury or illness away from losing everything.
    • 18,000 Americans die each year because they lack insurance – that's one death every half hour.
  • Even for people with health care, all it takes is one stroke of bad luck to become uninsured.
    • Every day that goes by, 14,000 people lose their health insurance.
    • Insurance industry worst-practice are contributing to the problem, preventing those who need coverage most from getting it – and even dropping people with insurance because they get sick.

Squeezing Family Budgets

  • In the last ten years, premiums for employer-sponsored health insurance have risen more than 130 percent – rising at three times the rate of wages.
    • Americans are paying more and more out of pocket – and they’re getting less.
    • A recent a survey found that nearly 60 percent of Americans, with and without insurance cut back on health care due to cost.

Threatening Businesses' Viability

  • American businesses – especially small businesses – say high health costs are impeding their ability to compete, expand and hire more workers.  Too often they're forced to choose between covering their workers and staying afloat.
    • Because they lack bargaining leverage, small businesses pay 18 percent more than larger businesses for the same health insurance plan.

President Obama's Plan

  • President Obama's health insurance reform plan addresses three basic goals:
    • If you have health insurance, it will give you more security and stability, and crack down on insurance industry worst-practices like denying you coverage because of a pre-existing condition, or dropping or watering down your coverage when you get sick and need it most.
    • If you don’t have insurance it will give you quality, affordable options.
    • And it will lower the cost of health care for our families, our businesses, and our government.