Medical Costs Surge as Hospitals Force Insurers to Raise Payments

The New York Times
May 25, 2001

By Milt Freudenheim

"As costs rise, some economists said, the growing unhappiness could stoke popular demand for political solutions, and even revive interest in a national single-payer health system like Canada's.

"'In 1991 and 1992, the last time a business slowdown coincided with double-digit inflation in health costs, people started to talk about universal health coverage,' recalled Uwe Reinhardt, a Princeton university economist. Instead, employers placed their faith in managed care."

Comment: Managed care is losing its clout, and the plans are resembling the indemnity coverage of years past. This quasi-indemnity model is returning us to double digit inflation in health care. The current movement toward "enabling empowered consumers" will compound the problems of of impaired access due to the inevitability of inadequate, flawed coverage. All other paths create so many problems that we are left solely with the logic of a universal health program to solve our problems in health care. We've been in denial long enough. Let's now move forward with rational reform.