If health overhaul fails, look for spiraling premiums, more uninsured, skimpier Medicare | NevadaAppeal.com

If health overhaul fails, look for spiraling premiums, more uninsured, skimpier Medicare

WASHINGTON (AP) – What could be worse than health care overhaul? No health care overhaul.

It’s anybody’s guess whether President Barack Obama’s health remake will survive in Congress.

But there’s no doubting the consequences if lawmakers fail to address the problems of costs, coverage and quality: surging insurance premiums, more working families without coverage, bigger out-of-pocket bills, a Medicare prescription gap that grows wider and deeper, and government programs that pay when people get sick but do little to keep them healthy.

“They complained, ‘If you pass this bill, prices will go up,”‘ said Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., who helped shape the Senate Democrats’ bill. “Well, you don’t pass it, and prices will still go up.”

For economist Douglas Holtz-Eakin, a top adviser to 2008 GOP presidential nominee John McCain, “no one has the luxury of saying we’re not going to worry about this.” While he’s no fan of the Democrats’ approach, he said Republicans “are going to have to deliver something at some point. The question is whether they do it with this president leading or wait for a Republican president.”