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Health Care Reform: The Cost of Doing Nothing

Jeremy Sprinkle
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Support Health Care for America NowCan we afford NOT to act?

We are now in the end-game on health care reform. Time will tell whether it succeeds or fails, but is failure really an option for North Carolinians?

"North Carolinians need health reform more than ever," says the national non-profit health care policy group, Families USA, in a new report, The Cost of Doing Nothing:

"The costs of health care have outpaced workers' wages, jeopardized the survival of businesses, and led more and more people to lose their insurance coverage. As a result, the number of North Carolinians who delay or forgo medical care and die prematurely has increased at a dangerous rate. At the same time, insurance companies' profits rose 428% between 2000 and 2007."

The reform legislation passed by the Senate and yet-to-be reconciled with the House of Representatives would provide coverage to at least 31 million Americans and reduce the federal deficit by $132 billion by 2019.

However, if reform fails, the outlook for North Carolina is grim. According to the Families USA report, if we do nothing to reform health care:

  • 1,720,000 North Carolinians will lack health insurance by 2019. If reform passes 988,000 people will gain insurance.
  • The average North Carolinian's family insurance premium will increase by $8,475 by 2019. If reform passes, subsidies for coverage will lower families' premiums and require 85 cents of every premium dollar be spent on care, not profits.
  • North Carolina's small businesses will pay $5.2 billion more for health care premiums by 2018 [profits for insurance companies instead of small business -Ed.] If reform passes, these business will get new tax breaks and a new marketplace to buy affordable coverage.
  • 247,000 Medicare beneficiaries in North Carolina will still fall into the gap in prescription drug coverage. If reform passes, fewer seniors will have to choose between food and medicine.
  • Nearly 3 working-age North Carolinians [will continue to] die each day because they lack health insurance. If reform passes, these people will have access to life saving coverage.

The job can get done on health care reform by reconciling the Senate and House bills with a majority, up or down vote in the Senate. This report makes clear: doing nothing isn't an option North Carolinians can afford. Read the full report for North Carolina (Word Doc).