Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Health-Care Reform

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Health-Care Reform

Article excerpt

HEALTH-CARE spending in the United States is going up by about 10 percent a year. In 1990, such spending reached $666.2 billion. That's some $2 billion a day, or almost $3,000 a year for every person in the country. Is all this spending paying off?

For people not covered by current private health-insurance plans, the answer is no. A major thrust of reform is to assure that everyone - the poor, the unemployed - have sure access to care. Another goal is to control waste. Millions are spent on services that have relatively little practical value for patients.

Is a national health-insurance program, funded entirely by government, the answer? Coverage gaps would be closed, but the increased tax revenues needed to pay for the program are a political barrier. And dismantling the current private system would cause widespread job loss and organizational chaos.

A better approach is to build on the present system. Government could give businesses the option of offering their employees private insurance or paying a tax that would be used to expand publicly funded coverage. …

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