President Obama continues to press Congress to get him a bill to reform the nation’s health care system before the August recess. Senior Fellow Alice Rivlin says that the current system needs to be changed for not only for the good of the American people but also for the nation’s long-term fiscal health.
“A lot of people are saying we ought to back off now. We have too much on our plate. We are in a recession and health care reform is just too big a deal to pull off in the face of a recession. I think that’s absolutely wrong. The recession makes health care reform more urgent. People are losing their health care as they lose their jobs. It is a clear illustration of why we need a system which covers everybody and which is not dependent on the ups and downs of employment. Moreover, in the long run we need to get control of rising government spending and most of that, much of that, is driven by rising health care costs in the programs we already have. So, comprehensive health reform means finding ways to deliver health care more efficiently and that will help us restrain the rate of growth of government spending over the long run. We can’t start that soon enough.”