Reform Health Care Now: The economy is making the crisis worse

At a White House meeting on Monday, health care industry leaders vowed to trim $2 trillion from the nation's health care spending over the next decade. It remains to be seen whether these people, representing insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, and doctors, keep their promise. After all, we've been down this road before, with the major stakeholders in the system offering "voluntary" cost-cutting measures. Still, it is a sign that even health industry leaders realize that the recession has turned a chronic problem into what we in the medical field call an emergent situation.

The 10-second version of the nation's health care crisis is that unemployment has led to massive numbers of uninsured (as I pointed out in the last installment), which puts a tremendous strain on the system, driving up the cost of care and coverage for everyone, which, in turn, adds to the rolls of uninsured.