Health-reform savings that Rep. Paul Ryan ignored

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Regarding Rep. Paul D. Ryan's March 15 op-ed, "Health reform's ruins":

Mr. Ryan (R-Wis.) cited the Congressional Budget Office to argue that reform could increase family premiums by 10 to 13 percent. But he failed to mention that according to that same CBO report, the vast majority of Americans who have insurance through their employers will see unchanged or lower premiums. For those in the individual insurance market, any increase in premiums would be offset by tax credits. And overall, the growth of health-care costs for all families will decline over time.

Also, Mr. Ryan charged that health reform will "accelerate our path to fiscal ruin." Again, the nonpartisan CBO refutes him -- reform will reduce the deficit and pay for itself. The CBO reports that the Senate version of the bill will save more than $100 billion over the first decade, and more than half a trillion dollars over the second. And as Harvard economist David Cutler asserts, even those numbers leave out the impact of the more efficient, coordinated care that will result from reform, which he says could amount to $600 billion in additional savings.

Finally, Mr. Ryan argued that covering the uninsured will kill jobs. But it's voting down the bill that would be the job-killer: Every day, businesses are facing higher costs and tougher competition from overseas, because American health care is the most expensive in the world. According to a recent Harvard/USC study, passing health insurance reform, by reducing those costs, will create as many as 4 million jobs over the next decade.

Robert E. Andrews, Washington

The writer, a Democrat, represents New Jersey's 1st District in the U.S. House of Representatives.

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