So what’s changed since then-President Bill Clinton gave his address to a joint session of Congress pushing for health care reform?
A lot of the health care problems he foretold came true.
The country’s annual health care costs have risen much more than the rate of inflation, from $912 billion a year in 1993 to a projected $2.5 trillion this year, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.
In 1993, the United States spent over a third more of its income on health care than any other nation on earth, Clinton said.
Now, Obama told the annual conference of the American Medical Association on June 15, 2009: “We spend almost 50 percent more per person on health care than the next most expensive nation — 50 percent more.”
In 1993, the Health Insurance Association of America estimated the cost of family insurance coverage under an average group insurance plan was $5,232.
Today that figure is $12,680, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.
Predictions Clinton made about the impact of these rising costs have largely come true.
“Small businesses will continue to face skyrocketing premiums,” Clinton said in 1993. “And a full third of small businesses now covering their employees say they will be forced to drop their insurance.”
Obama, 16 years later, said that is exactly what has happened.
“Across the country, over one-third of small businesses have reduced benefits in recent years and one-third have dropped their workers’ coverage altogether since the early ’90s,” he said.
The ranks of the uninsured has surged from an estimated 37 million Americans without insurance on any given day to nearly 46 million now.
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