Without significant reform to the current health care system, the number of uninsured Americans could grow by 10 million people in just five years, and spending on government health care programs for the poor could more than double by 2020, according to a new report released today by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF).
The report projects that by 2015, there could be as many as 59.7 million people uninsured—and further estimates that the number could swell to 67.6 million by 2020. An estimated 49.4 million individuals were without health coverage in 2010.
Analysts at the Urban Institute used their Health Insurance Policy Simulation Model to assess the changes in coverage patterns and health care costs that will occur nationally from 2010 to 2020 in the event that major reforms are not enacted. The study examined three alternative scenarios:
Under all three economic scenarios, the analysis shows that the middle-class would suffer most without reform. For employers who continued to offer health insurance benefits, an increasing amount of the costs would likely be passed on to workers. At the same time, individuals and families would face higher out-of-pocket costs for premiums and health care services.
“Families and individuals across this country are already stretched beyond their means. They simply cannot afford to see their insurance costs rise by more than a third in just five short years,” said Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, M.D., M.B.A., RWJF president and CEO. “This report paints a grim picture for the future of our nation if we fail to make health insurance more affordable for all Americans, while also reducing health care costs.”
The Urban Institute model shows that under the worst case scenario, if health care reform is not enacted:
“By examining the best available economic data, we can project what will happen to our health care system if we continue along our current path,” said lead author Bowen Garrett, Ph.D., a senior research associate in the Health Policy Center at the Urban Institute. “The bottom line is that we are likely to see a significant deterioration in who has health insurance coverage in this country, coupled with untenable increases in private and public spending.”
The report is being released during Cover the Uninsured Week, a nonpartisan campaign organized by RWJF to advocate for health coverage for all Americans. Now in its eighth year, Cover the Uninsured Week (March 14-20) has become the largest, nonpartisan mobilization in history seeking solutions for the millions of Americans who are uninsured. To learn more, log on to www.CoverTheUninsured.org.