I'm listening on the radio, so this is a paraphrase, not a quote. But Obama made a great point: If he was presented with a plan that doubled the cost of health coverage for every American over the next ten years, and would also result in millions of Americans losing the insurance they already have, he would reject it. Any sane person would. And that's the plan right now—that's the status quo. If we do nothing, which is what the GOP wants, costs will continue to skyrocket and more people will lose their insurance. People are worried because we might not be able to afford health-care reform. But we know for sure that we can't afford the path we're on.
A point I'd like to hear the president and other advocates of reform make: this isn't just about providing health insurance for the uninsured:
Nearly two out of three bankruptcies stem from medical bills, and even people with health insurance face financial disaster if they experience a serious illness, a new study shows.
Many people are underinsured and don't know it until they get sick. And then it's too late to go get more or better coverage because—pysch!—you've got a "pre-existing condition." And many people with what, on paper, looks like good, comprehensive health coverage discover, once they get ill, that their health care "providers" are in the business of denying coverage, not providing it. The fewer bills they pay, the more money they make. Insurers profit by denying care to the ill, not providing care. And even Americans with health coverage live with the anxiety of the consequences of losing their coverage or discovering, after they get ill, that their coverage is inadequate. I'd pay more in taxes to relieve myself of that worry. Part of what healthy French and British and German and Canadian taxpayers get out of their single-payer health care systems is the peace of mind that comes with knowing that they're covered if they do get sick, that their families won't be ruined financially if they get ill. Once again:
Among families who were bankrupted by illness, those with private insurance reported average medical bills of $17,749 compared to those who were uninsured, who faced an average of $26,971 in medical costs. Those who had health insurance but lost it in the course of their illness reported average medical bills of $22,568.
Our system doesn't actually cover the people who have coverage. Democrats need to emphasize that.