Reform American Health Care

Did you know that Americans spend more on health care than any other country? Costs have been rising significantly faster than economic or personal income growth for the past 40 years, and the trend is continuing at an unsustainable rate. In fact, it is the worst long-term crisis facing the nation, and it demands a solution.

If we don't address these rising costs now, our entire safety net could disappear, including Medicare and Social Security. Even worse, cost burdens and our $9.5 trillion national debt make it almost impossible to invest in new programs that make us healthier and more secure.

Annually, the U.S. health care industry spends an amount equal to the entire gross domestic product of France and Spain combined, so reform is going to be complicated and challenging. But it needs to happen sooner rather than later, and the first step is asking hard questions about health care in America.

Waiting to reform the health care system will just push the problem onto our children and grandchildren, and that is irresponsible and immoral. Ask Congress to seriously face health care reform today.

The federal deficit is the single greatest, long-term crisis facing this country. A big part of this is health care costs. Health care costs have been rising significantly faster than economic and personal income growth for the past 40 years, and the trend is continuing at an unsustainable rate. Projections indicate that in just a few decades, every penny of the annual increase in gross domestic product will have to go for health care. There would be less and less money for other things, like education, environmental protection, research and development, national security, and other services that Americans depend on.

Of course everyone wants to increase access, reduce costs and preserve choice in health care, but the problem is that no one knows how to do all that. That's why it's so absolutely critical that our nation's leaders start asking the hard questions about health care reform.

* How do we reduce health care costs without compromising access to valuable treatments and squelching medical innovation?
* How do we help those who can't afford access to even basic health care?
* How do we find the balance between medical benefit and expense?

We need a real dialogue, because no matter whether you're a Democrat, Republican, conservative, liberal, or anywhere in between, the path we are on is ultimately unsustainable. It's a matter of arithmetic, not ideology, and any single approach will not be enough.

Franklin Roosevelt was famous for saying that one of the President's jobs was to "take the nation to school," not just to respond to public opinion, but to teach Americans about the hard choices they face. Well, we have some very hard choices to face, and we need leadership in the face of them. Leaving the projected deficits and debt on auto-pilot is not an option. It would be irresponsible and immoral to leave this mess to our children and grandchildren to clean up. We need to start today.

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Please be a real leader and address the issue of health care reform.
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