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Curbing High Health Costs: The Linchpin for Successful Health Reform

By: John J. Sweeney
Published: April 2009

Health and Income Security Brief No. 14 ~ April 2009

Summary: We cannot realize our potential as a just society until every person in our country can count on affordable, high quality health care when they need it. In health care reform, the single toughest issue is cost control. Without cost savings, the debates over financing and the relative roles of public and private insurance programs are useless. No one can afford the system we have now, with its $2.3 trillion annual cost and a super-sized inflation rate. Those who advocate universal health coverage without serious cost containment are dooming us to the awful choice of denying all needed care to some, or denying some needed care to all. We cannot make our economy work for everyone until we make health care work for everyone. And it will not work unless all stakeholders in this struggle accept responsibility when it comes to controlling cost and guaranteeing quality care. We must achieve affordable universal coverage not only for the sake of the young, the old, the poor, the working poor, and the middle class. We must do it in order to turn our economy around and make it work for everyone.