Without significant reform to the nation's healthcare system, the number of uninsured Americans could increase by nearly eighteen million people and healthcare spending could grow significantly over the next ten years, a new report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation finds.
Prepared by researchers at the Urban Institute using the institute's Health Insurance Policy Simulation Model, the report, The Cost of Failure to Enact Health Reform: 2010-2020 (12 pages, PDF), examined three scenarios for income and healthcare cost growth, with the worst-case scenario reflecting slow growth in incomes and continued high growth rates for healthcare costs. The report found that if healthcare reform is not enacted, the number of uninsured Americans could increase from 49.4 million in 2010 to 59.7 million by 2015 and to 67.6 million by 2020; individual and family spending on premiums and out-of-pocket healthcare costs could jump 34 percent by 2015 and 79 percent by 2020; and spending on government healthcare programs for the poor could more than double by 2020.
Under all three scenarios, the analysis showed that the middle class would suffer most without reform. In the worst-case scenario, the uninsured rate for middle-class families earning 200 percent to 399 percent of the federal poverty level (roughly $40,000 to $75,000 a year) could rise from 19 percent to 28 percent by 2020; employer spending on premiums over the same period could nearly double, from $430 billion to $851 billion; and employees in small firms could see the number of firms offering health insurance cut almost in half, dropping from 41 percent to 23 percent.
"Families and individuals across this country are already stretched beyond their means. They simply cannot afford to see their insurance costs rise by more than a third in just five short years," said RWJF president and CEO Risa Lavizzo-Mourey. "This report paints a grim picture for the future of our nation if we fail to make health insurance more affordable for all Americans while also reducing healthcare costs."