Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius discussed the essential need for health care reform today in an op-ed column for Yahoo News.
Echoing arguments made by the president and other congressional and administration officials, Sebelius argued that the cost of health care for state and local budgets has risen 30 percent in the past 20 years and represents the "single largest contributor" to the national deficit. The secretary stressed the need to find a system that does not add to U.S. deficit over the next ten years while extending coverage to millions currently uninsured.
The current system, Sebelius explained, leaves 46 million Americans uninsured. Even more are under-insured and skip necessary medical visits because they cannot afford it.
"For decades, Washington has talked about fixing a broken health care system," Sebeluis writes. "And for decades Washington failed to act – allowing the special interests to stall reform while the cracks in the system turned into crevices, then craters."
Sebelius reiterated President Obama's assurance that the overhaul will not affect the coverage of happily insured Americans.
"Millions of Americans are happy with the coverage they have now, so let's be clear: under any plan the Obama administration will support, if you like your health insurance you can keep your health insurance; if you like your doctor you can keep your doctor," Sebelius writes.
Sebelius also wrote of the plans that are being discussed in Congress and supported by the administration, saying the goal is to establish a marketplace with more choices in order to increase the competition between coverage plans and prohibit companies from denying claims based on pre-existing conditions. She also emphasized the importance of enticing doctors to focus on the quality of a patient's treatment, rather than the number of tests.
You can read the rest of the op-ed here.