Sebelius Expected To Stump for Health Care Reform at Hearing
In prepared remarks for her appearance before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee today, Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius (D), President Obama's nominee for HHS secretary, will say that inaction on health care "is not an option" and that retaining the status quo is "unacceptable and unsustainable," the AP/San Francisco Chronicle reports.
The Senate Finance Committee will hold Sebelius' confirmation hearing on Thursday.
Finance Committee member Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) expects Sebelius to face questions about her view on abortion, as antiabortion groups strongly oppose her nomination (Werner, AP/San Francisco Chronicle, 3/31).
The report amasses the findings of numerous studies that have been used to substantiate calls for comprehensive health reform.
In the report, HHS highlights that U.S. health care spending has doubled from 1996 to 2006, reaching $2.2 trillion in 2007, or $7,421 per capita -- accounting for more than 16% of the gross domestic product, nearly double the average of other developed countries.
According to the report, unless there is massive change, health care costs are expected to rise to 25% of GDP in 2025, and reach 49% by 2082.
The report also notes, "Employer-sponsored health insurance premiums have more than doubled in the last nine years," adding, "As a result of these crushing health care costs, American businesses are losing their ability to compete in the global marketplace."
In addition, the report cites a Commonwealth Foundation study that found the U.S. achieved an overall score of 65 out of a possible 100 on 37 quality performance indicators.According to HHS, "In spite of the vast resources invested, the health care system has not yet reached the goal of high-quality care" (Fox, Reuters/Boston Globe, 3/30). This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.