U.S. passage of historic health care reform stirs mixed reactions (3)

08:11, March 23, 2010      

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While there are millions of uninsured Americans, not all are poor. Some studies show that some Americans who can afford coverage opt not to purchase it, although there remain many cases of uninsured people who want coverage but can not afford it.

"Don," a mid-level employee at a major insurance company, who declined to be identified as he is not authorized to speak, said the bill does little to address the multiple factors responsible for what he billed as "out-of-control health care costs."

Those include sharply rising hospital inpatient and outpatient costs, which he said contribute a large chunk to rising medical costs. Recent reports have also shown that higher prices are the result of hospital and physician groups' growing power to negotiate higher rates, he said.

Brand-name drug prices increased significantly, and rising treatment volumes and a higher incidence of chronic disease, such as diabetes and high blood pressure, are also making health care more expensive, he said.

"The bill missed the point," he said, but added that one of the legislation's benefits is that it forbids companies from dropping people when they become ill. "If you drop people when they get sick, what's the point of getting insurance?" he asked.

Some have labeled the new law a boon for Americans.

"For the first time in our country's history, health care will deliver stability and security to the middle class by improving the quality of health care coverage, ensuring better access for those who lack coverage, and laying the foundation for controlling health care costs," said Jonathan Cowan, president of Third Way, in a statement.

But Edwin J. Feulner, president of the Heritage Foundation, a think tank, said in a statement that the bill passed in the face of overwhelming opposition from those who believe it will accelerate Washington's intrusion into people's lives.

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