As the Supreme Court considers the new health care law it is worthwhile looking at some basic facts to better understand the issue:
1. Not all Americans have health insurance but all Americans have access to medical care.
2. The problem with health care is not availability but cost. Medical services tend to be very expensive. Our health care costs two to three times what comparable care costs in the European Union countries.
3. We also have a problem with who pays. The person who does not pay for services rendered, e.g. emergency room services, has his bill passed on to those who do pay.
4. The reason health care is less expensive in the European Union is probably because the government provides universal care under its direct control. But it is still expensive. It is instructive to note that the largest expense for most European Union country government budgets is health care.
5. The new health care law is a “windfall” for health insurance companies. They will be required to accept all comers but they are able to increase rates to cover the higher risks. They are also guaranteed payment since the Federal Government will pay for those who are unable to pay.
6. The new health care law is an open ended commitment of Federal funds. The intial estimate of additional costs over ten years has been increased from $800 billion to $1.5 trillion. And this is not a certain number.