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The Need for Change in The American Health Insurance and Health Care Systems

Conclusion: The Future of Health Insurance in America Page 4

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At this point, there is a desperate need for the entire American system of health insurance to be carefully reviewed. There is a need, as well, for appropriate overall changes to be made so that our system of health insurance operates more efficiently, is easier for consumers to understand, and more fully protects consumers' rights.

Finally, it's become clear that we need to make a decision as a nation about the philosophical approach we wish to adopt in terms of health insurance. Do we want a health insurance system that's based on government sponsorship and government regulation, on the free market, or on some combination of the two?

Regardless of the philosophical approach you support, the events of the last few years have made it clear that the way to effect change is for individuals to begin to participate more actively in the discussions and debates on health care and health insurance in America. There are a number of groups and organizations that currently have significant influence on those issues. However, in a democracy such as ours, no group has as much potential influence on the future of health care and health insurance in the United States as average American citizens who are united and organized around a single goal. The recent passage of the Portability and Accountability Act, the Mental Health Parity Act, the Newborns' and Mothers' Health Protection Act, and the Spina Bifida-Agent Orange Benefits Act -- laws strongly supported by consumers -- as well as the many new health insurance laws that have been passed on the state level, attest to that potential influence.

Given the uniqueness of the American economic and political system, and the distinctive history of America's system of health care and health insurance, it may not be possible or even wise for us to attempt to adopt some version of a health insurance plan developed in another country. However, we clearly have the intelligence, the knowledge, and the skills to develop our own unique approach to health insurance reform, without losing the medical excellence offered by our current system. I think our challenge as a nation now is to find a way to translate our ideas into reality, and to shape the future in such a way that we can ensure appropriate health insurance and health care for all Americans.

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