A Closer Look at Congressional Health Reform Proposals

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<p>With health reform high on the agenda of President-elect Obama and the incoming Congress, a <a href="/publications/fund-reports/2009/jan/an-analysis-of-leading-congressional-health-care-bills--2007-2008--part-i--insurance-coverage
">new Commonwealth Fund analysis</a> of legislative proposals finds that several of these--including the plans of President-elect Barack Obama and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus--could substantially reduce the number of uninsured Americans and either reduce national health care spending or only modestly increase annual health expenditures.<br><br>The new analysis finds that the Obama and Baucus proposals could cover nearly all Americans. Still, the authors of the analysis say that to guarantee near-universal coverage, plans like these--which rely on a combination of private and public insurance--would need to require that all individuals obtain coverage. The Lewin Group, which provided coverage and cost estimates for the proposals examined in the report, projects that by 2010 nearly 49 million Americans will be uninsured if no large-scale reform is enacted.<br><br>"Though most proposals which cover more people come with a higher federal budget price tag, they can achieve significant administrative and health system savings," said Sara R. Collins, Ph.D., an assistant vice president at The Commonwealth Fund and the report's lead author. "Universal coverage will need to be accompanied by health system reforms aimed at improving overall health system performance."</p>