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Why conservatives should be supporting health care reform

Posted: December 26, 2009 7:15 p.m.
Updated: December 27, 2009 4:55 a.m.
 
After having attended Congressman Howard “Buck” McKeon’s health care town hall meeting and witnessing some of the incredible disdain for health insurance reformation, I felt it necessary to ask a critical question that has yet to be uncovered by any news media I have witnessed to date.

I understand while Democrats are typically supportive of reform, many conservatives are fundamentally concerned with the cost of the health care reform bill and the estimated 10-year, $830 billion price tag, among other details.

The critical question here that has not been asked is: “What is the comparison cost of no reform?”

Well, after some quick “googling” I uncovered this report that was published in 2008, which as we all know was before the health care reform debate became serious.

Therefore it can arguably be considered a non-partisan report, in addition to being from a nonprofit agency, The Kaiser Family Foundation. It can be found at http://www.kff.org/insurance/upload/7692_02.pdf.

At the time of the report, the U.S. was projected to spend over $2.5 trillion on health care in 2009, while the future projection is that by 2018, health care spending will be over $4.3 trillion and account for 20.3 percent of the total GDP.

So with that data, the question is this: Does the difference in total spending exceed the CBO’s budget estimate of health care reform cost at approximately $830 billion over the same 10-year period?

In other words: Is the cost of health care reform more or less expensive than no reform at all?

Answer: The projected cost increase over the next 10 years estimated without any reform is $1.8 trillion.

That means it is dramatically less expensive for America to pass health care reform into law than it would be to keep our existing system without reform.

Not by a little, either — by a lot. The difference between spending $830 billion over the next 10 years vs. paying an additional $1.8 trillion is $970 billion.

So, in essence, the reform bill cuts the future costs of health care spending by more than half!

“Slow down!” you might be saying. “It isn’t my responsibility to pay for other people’s health insurance!”

Well, let’s save that debate for another article. I agree with you, from a purely ethical standpoint. In this letter, let’s look at the big numbers to address this ideological viewpoint. No article can cover it all.

The cost savings to our nation that affect us all should make conservatives and Democrats smile. If the Independents, the “Greens,” the “Constitutionalists,” and the Libertarians smile, too, then, great. Is it another “wealth transfer?” You tell me.

Full disclosure: Personally, I would have preferred we start with more basic reforms. But at this time I am glad to have discovered this cost information.

I try to engage all political discussion with a non-partisan viewpoint and welcome all intelligent comments and contests of data. I am interested in what is best for the country, regardless of political party.

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