Report: Without Healthcare Reform, Plight of the Uninsured Bleak

Coverage expansion remains top debate in legislation

NEWS_HealthcareIf health insurance costs are left unchecked, the number of uninsured Americans will increase by 10% in every state in the country and by 30% in more than half the states, according to a new report from the Department of Health and Human Services.

“Ten more years of doing nothing paints a bleak picture,” said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in a conference call Monday.

The number of uninsured Americans will increase by 10% in every state in the country and by 30% in more than half the states, according to “Health Insurance Reform: The Case for Change,” a state-by-state study released by HHS.

The amount of uncompensated care will more than double in 45 states, businesses in 27 states will see their premiums more than double, and fewer people will have coverage through an employer, states the report. Employer- based health costs will triple from around $10,000 per year to almost $30,000 per year by 2019, said Sebelius, referring to a study by the Business Roundtable.

In some states, healthcare reform is expected to reduce premiums for state employees. For example, Michigan, which leads the nation in unemployment at 15.1%, has 1.3 million uninsured residents. If they get insured through the national health insurance exchange, the amount of uncompensated care costs that’s shifted to the premiums of state employees will decrease, according to the report.

President Barack Obama is committed to enacting health insurance reform. Even though reform legislation has passed in the House, and U.S. Senate leaders voted to start debate on a healthcare reform bill Saturday, a bill may not reach Obama’s desk by the end of the year.

The Senate bill provides subsidies for businesses, increases competition between insurers and repeals practices that raise premiums for small businesses. It faces many challenges since Republicans believe that it is “the worst bill ever” and they say it will impose a half trillion dollars in higher taxes on small businesses and individuals.

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