December 2008 Issue • Volume 36 • Issue 9

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Health Care Reform as an
Economy Growth Strategy

by Elisabeth Jacobs, ASA Congressional Fellow

President-elect Barack Obama and the 111th Congress face a historic challenge this January. The global economy is in a tailspin, our nation is at war, and the planet is in peril. In the wake of the $700-billion bailout of the struggling financial industry, many in Washington have concluded that incoming policymakers must scale back their policy aspirations, particularly with regard to health care reform. This approach is the opposite direction that President Obama and the new Congress should take.

Comprehensive health reform is critical to reviving the American economy and ensuring prosperity and growth. Without reform, rising health care costs will continue to inhibit economic growth and diminish businesses’ ability to compete in a global marketplace. Workers’ wages and family savings will continue to be eaten up by skyrocketing medical bills, and state and federal budgets will face increasing burdens. Reform can serve as a key that unlocks vast reserves of unrealized economic potential.

While the path to reform remains highly uncertain, the following set of arguments provide motivation for policymakers committed to forging ahead.

Health reform will spark business innovation.

Health reform will ease the increasing burden of health care costs on federal and state budgets.

Health reform will reduce burdens on American families and help spur economic growth.

For a list of references, which were too long to publish, please contact

ASA Congressional Fellow Elisabeth Jacobs is serving on the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP), which is chaired by Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA). small_green


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