The vigorous debate in the U.S. Congress and in the public arena seems to indicate that there are good chances of passage of a health care reform bill this year. I hope President Obama, before signing the bill, makes sure that the final bill represents reform not in name only, but as a fundamental change from the status-quo.
According to the most recent published data for 2000-2006, unadjusted for price changes, growth rate in total national health care expenditure has averaged 8 percent per year as opposed to 5 percent average growth rate of Gross Domestic Product (GDP); public expenditure grew at the rate of 8.6 percent per year. In relation to our capacity to pay, total expenditure increased from 13.8 percent to 16 percent of GDP. A report issued by the Council of Economic Advisors (CEA) on June, 2009 states that if health care cost keeps rising at historical rates, its share of GDP will reach 34 percent by 2040, an obviously unsustainable burden on the economy. Hence President Obama has stated two main goals of health care reform, 1) cost containment and 2) covering all uninsured people.