Why we needed this health care bill

Bloomberg's John Wasik sketches out the health care reform challenges.

I’ve been listening to C-Span comments and following the online debate in the health care bill on this historic night. I’ve extracted some persuasive facts here from John F. Wasik’s book, The Audacity of Help. To learn more, Read Wasik’s columns for Bloomberg. I saw Wasik speak on health care reform last fall.

Also for first rate facts and context on the health care bill, check out the Watch it Live on the Health Care Summit by the Sunlight Foundation.

In early 2009, health expenditures consumed about 16 percent of U.S. gross domestic product.
Medical insurance claims 20% of media family income [source: New America Foundation.]

The majority of large employers (those with more than 200 employees) offered health care, slightly less than half of the smallest businesses did.

Employees paid an average $3,354 out of their own pockets for medical expenses in 2008.

[In 2008, Americans] were spending $650 billion more more on medical bills than countries with comparable wealth. That’s twice as much as we spent on food in 2006, and more than China’s citizens consumed altogether. [source: McKinsey Global Institute.]

The current patchwork system is unsustainable. Unless the growing bite of health costs is addressed by 2017, health care spending will double from 2007 levels, consuming one out of every five dollars produced in the United States. [Government Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services.]

from The Audacity of Help by John F. Wasik