Senate Testimony: Why Well-Designed Universal Health Insurance Is Essential to a High Performing Health System

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<p>A major culprit in the inconsistent performance of the U.S. health care system is its failure to provide health insurance to nearly 45 million people, as well as adequate financial protection to an additional 16 million more who are "underinsured," said Commonwealth Fund assistant vice president Sara Collins, Ph.D., today in <a href="/cnlib/pub/enews_clickthrough.htm?enews_item_id=28905&return_url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Ecommonwealthfund%2Eorg%2Fpublications%2Fpublications%5Fshow%2Ehtm%3Fdoc%5Fid%3D506778%26%23doc506778">invited testimony</a> before the Senate Budget Committee.<Br><br>Speaking at a hearing entitled, "Health Care and the Budget: The Healthy Americans Act and Other Options for Reform," Collins explained that universal coverage is essential to placing the system on a path to high performance. For example, billions of dollars in uncompensated care is now paid for through pools of federal, state, and local government revenues and through cost-shifting to other payers--making efficiency in the operation of provider institutions and financing arrangements very difficult.<br><br>Collins also emphasized that the design of the universal coverage system "will matter greatly in terms of whether the overall health system is ultimately able to make sustainable and systematic improvements in access to care, efficiency and cost control, equity, and quality of care."<br><br><em>Browse and download the associated charts in <a href="/chartcart/">ChartCart.</a></em></p>