Article

Making Things Worse

A Critique of Conservative “Solutions” to Our Nation’s Health Care Crisis

A critique of conservative “solutions” to our nation’s health care crisis from CAP Action's Karen Davenport.

From left, Sen. John McCain, (R-AZ), Sen Lamar Alexander, (R-TN), and Sen. Tom Coburn, (R-OK), listen during the health care reform meeting at the Blair House in Washington, February 25, 2010. McCain and Coburn have both supported proposals to eliminate current tax preferences for employer-sponsored insurance. (AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
From left, Sen. John McCain, (R-AZ), Sen Lamar Alexander, (R-TN), and Sen. Tom Coburn, (R-OK), listen during the health care reform meeting at the Blair House in Washington, February 25, 2010. McCain and Coburn have both supported proposals to eliminate current tax preferences for employer-sponsored insurance. (AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

In the wake of the White House Health Care Summit, pundits and policymakers are weighing whether political opponents and ideological opposites can find common ground on strategies for reforming our nation’s broken health care system. Legislation pending in Congress would, according to the Congressional Budget Office, expand coverage to 31 million Americans, reduce the growth of health care spending, and reduce the federal deficit over the coming decade. But would conservative proposals have a similar effect?

A careful look makes clear they would not. If all health reform efforts are simply stopped in their tracks by conservatives in Congress, as many seem to advocate, then their “solution” is for today’s myriad health care problems to continue to fester and grow, saddling future generations of Americans with unsustainable federal budget deficits and leaving the American people paying more each year for health insurance—if they are fortunate enough to have health insurance at all.

What’s worse, though, is conservatives’ actual reform proposals—whether small or large in scope—would exacerbate already existing problems in our health care system while failing to rein in ever-rising health care costs. The American people will soon learn just how costly these specific conservative “solutions” would be to millions of families and to those left out of our health care system altogether. But let’s look at both of these conservative options—do nothing or do more harm—in more detail. Neither approach offers the health care prescription our nation needs.

Read the full report at CAP Action

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