America’s Health Care: At a Critical Crossroads
The nation’s health care system is in need of serious repair. Health care spending is rising more than double the rate of inflation. Millions of Americans are uninsured. Millions more who have health insurance currently worry they will not be able to afford it when they lose or leave their jobs. Today, the overwhelming majority of the uninsured are from families where someone is employed full- or part-time.
In addition, serious questions have been raised about the quality of care and the efficiency with which care is delivered. Our nation surpasses other developed nations in technology, yet the health status of our people has not proportionally improved.
America’s health care stands at a critical crossroads. It is time we, as a nation, make an informed decision about where to go from here. A sustained, vigorous health care dialogue requires honest communication and consensus. Since health care involves individuals and families, businesses, big and small, and state and federal governments, the future of the nationís health depends on the outcome of that dialogue.
Speaking With One Voice
Escalating health care costs affect all of us in federal and state government, the private sector and American families. Individuals and families particularly are feeling the strain of shouldering more of the health costs directly. For many, their take-home pay grows more slowly and their standard of living stagnates. There seems to be no reassuring end in sight. These health care concerns affect all people regardless of political, generational, economic, gender or ethnic boundaries. America’s strained health care system is everyone’s concern, and we must all make it a priority to bring high quality, affordable and accessible health care into the national agenda.
To that end, the National Coalition on Health Care has established a powerful, non-partisan effort to build understanding of the magnitude of the problem in quality of care, rising costs and decreasing coverage. In our quest to assure America’s health, there are no single vested interests, only collective concerns.
Setting the Nation’s Agenda for Action
Supported by its members and generous grants from the W.K. Kellogg, Henry J. Kaiser Family and Robert Wood Johnson Foundations, the Coalition has launched a multi-year education campaign on the realities and challenges of the health care system.
What is our role in ensuring that any change in the system addresses the interrelated problems of quality, cost and access for both the government and the private sector? How can we safeguard our health care delivery and quality of care? How are government, industry and the American family coping? What is happening in the world of insurance coverage? How rapidly is the cost of health care rising? How vulnerable are special populations from the very young to the very old? How difficult is it for people with physical and economic challenges to obtain health care?
Through the Coalition’s leadership, this national dialogue will take place in big cities and small towns across the country through:
- A consumer education campaign to assist Americans in better understanding the health care system and to make more informed decisions about their care;
- Quantitative and qualitative polls to take the pulse of the publicís attitudes and perceptions of the health care system;
- Commissioned studies to provide research-based information affecting policy and legislation with a look at the impact of health care on individuals, families, business, the economy, and the nation;
- Business roundtables to allow industry leaders to share their national and regional business strategies for responding to health care concerns;
- State coalition building and outreach to involve consumers in the effort to increase the attention given to health care issues in the political arena.