A report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation found that without the recent passing of health care reform, the number of uninsured Americans would increase by nearly 18 million people and health care spending would grow significantly over the next 10 years.
And of course, the middle class would be the hardest hit. Today, the economic downturn has strained family finances and prompted some Americans to cut back on medications, forgo preventive care and doctor visits.
In 2007, 62 percent of all bankruptcies filed in the United States were linked to medical expenses. Health reform will prevent bankruptcies by capping annual out-of-pocket costs for families who receive insurance through the exchanges or a small business.
Also, the report found that if health care reform was not passed, the number of uninsured Americans might increase from 49.4 million in 2010 to 59.7 million by 2015 and to 67.6 million by 2020. Also, individual and family spending on premiums and out-of-pocket health care costs could jump 34 percent by 2015 and 79 percent by 2020. And if health care reform was not passed, another interesting factoid is that spending on government health care programs for the poor would more than double by 2020.
With Medicaid set to expand under health care reform, the program will begin to reach individuals who have previously had little interaction with the health care system.
Of all the uninsured adults with incomes at or below 133 percent of the poverty level, 38 percent did not receive any medical care over two years.
A recent Kaiser Poll found that 57 percent of all adults say they have put off some sort of needed medical care over the past 12 months because of costs and one third say they or someone in their household has had problems paying medical bills over the past year.
A Thomson Reuters poll of consumer confidence released on Monday shows Americans' confidence in their ability to pay for and access health care has fallen by five percent since December 2009.
Also on Monday, the federal secretary of Health and Human Services said bad information about health care reform has hampered the effort to actually implement reform.