Failure To Pass Health Care Reform Dangerous To Economy

During his press conference last night, Barack Obama described why the status quo is not a viable option:

If somebody told you that there is a plan out there that is guaranteed to double your health-care costs over the next 10 years, that’s guaranteed to result in more Americans losing their health care, and that is by far the biggest contributor to our federal deficit, I think most people would be opposed to that. Well, that’s the status quo. That’s what we have right now. So if we don’t change, we can’t expect a different result.

And that’s why I think this is so important — not only for those families out there who are struggling and who need some protection from abuses in the insurance industry or need some protection from skyrocketing costs, but it’s also important for our economy.

And by the way, it’s important for families’ wages and incomes.

One of the things that doesn’t get talked about is the fact that when premiums are going up, and the costs to employers are going up, that’s money that could be going into people’s wages and incomes. And over the last decade, we basically saw middle-class families; their incomes and wages flatlined.

BusinessWeek has reported on a survey which shows that Obama is right:

In a first-of-its-kind study, the non-profit Rand Corp linked the rapid growth in U.S. health care costs to job losses and lower output. The study, published online by the journal Health Services Research, gives weight to President Barack Obama’s dire warnings about the impact of rising costs if Congress does not enact health care reform.

The Rand researchers examined the economic performance of 38 industries from 1987 through 2005, in an attempt to assess the economic impact of “excess” growth in health care costs on U.S. industries. Excess growth is defined as the increase in health care costs that exceeds the overall growth of the nation’s GDP—a yearly occurrence in the U.S. The team compared changes in employment, economic output and the value added to the GDP product for industries that provide health benefits to most workers to those where few workers have job-based health insurance.

After adjusting for other factors, industries that provide insurance had significantly less employment growth than industries where health benefits were not common. Industries with a larger percentage of workers receiving employer-sponsored health insurance also showed lower growth in their contribution to the GDP.

For example, the study estimated that a 10% increase in excess health care costs would reduce employment by about 0.24 percent in the motor vehicles industry, where 80% of workers are covered by employers. The retail industry, however, where only one third of workers are covered, saw only a 0.13% percent drop in employment. Economy-wide, a 10% increase in excess health care costs growth would result in about 120,800 fewer jobs, $28 billion in lost revenues, and $14 billion in lost GDP value.

Republicans claim that health care reform would be harmful to the economy. Data such as this demonstrates that it is sticking with the status quo which is actually more harmful to the economy.

Besides being harmful to the economy, continuing with the status quo will mean additional millions who will lose their insurance because of losing their job, changing jobs, or developing an expensive illness which leads to their insurance dropping them. The current proposals might not be exactly what I would prefer, but sticking with the status quo would be far worse than any problems in the proposed plans.

Send In The PUMAs

Hillary Clinton has gotten herself into an insult match with North Korea:

North Korea launched a scathing personal attack on U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Thursday after she likened the leadership in Pyongyang to “small children and unruly teenagers and people who are demanding attention.”

At a meeting of southeast Asian nations in Phuket, Thailand, a North Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman blasted Clinton for what he called a “spate of vulgar remarks unbecoming for her position everywhere she went since she was sworn in,” according to the state-run KCNA news agency.

The spokesman called Clinton “by no means intelligent” and a “funny lady.”

“Sometimes she looks like a primary schoolgirl and sometimes a pensioner going shopping,” the statement said. Read other colorful insults by N. Korea

Does North Korea have any idea what they are doing here? If they keep this up they’ll have to put up with nutty PUMAs seeking revenge for insulting Hillary. Ok, maybe it isn’t enough to deter North Korea. If David Letterman can withstand their attacks to avenge his jokes about Hillary’s pantsuits, I imagine that North Korea can handle PUMA protests.