The Prognosis for National Health Insurance: A Florida Perspective
Health care now comprises about one-sixth of the U.S. economy. Given the aging of the population, that portion is likely to grow. Therefore, making major changes in the system that delivers and funds health care requires especially careful analysis, not a rush to judgment.
True, this issue has been discussed for decades, especially since the advent of Medicare. Prior to that, the federal role was perceived primarily as battling communicable diseases such as yellow fever and smallpox. Medicare and the subsequent addition of Medicaid, the federal/state program to provide health care to low-income families, greatly increased the government’s involvement.
That involvement escalated in recent years as healthcare costs rose faster than the general inflation rate. Many employers reduced or eliminated employee benefits. Even though most Americans still have health insurance and — polls show — like it, many others lack it. Still others have some form of health insurance but complain that their coverage is inadequate or too costly.
The growing pool of the uninsured has increased the clamor for “reform.” Moreover, unlike some previous reform efforts, the current push has support from formerly resistant entities such as major employers eager to reduce the cost of benefits, elements in the pharmaceutical industry, and providers chafing under managed care’s cost-containment policies and extensive red tape.