Topeka Opponents of health care reform often talk of the cost to expand insurance coverage, but they don’t talk about the savings from promoting education and prevention, Kansas Department of Health and Environment Secretary Roderick Bremby said Tuesday.
Bremby’s observation came at a meeting of the Kansas Health Policy Authority.
KHPA Acting Executive Director Andy Allison briefed authority members on the estimated $1 trillion cost over 10 years of health care reform under H.R. 3200, a Democratic proposal pending in Congress.
But Bremby said that estimate addresses expansion of health insurance coverage to those who don’t have it. It doesn’t consider savings from disease prevention programs under the bill, he said.
He said that without reform, estimates are that actual health care costs in the United States will increase from $2.2 trillion per year to $4.2 trillion per year by 2018.
“Sounds like we are going to save about a trillion dollars. But that is not part of the national conversation,” Bremby said. Bremby said that so far most of the discussion on health care reform has centered on the so-called “death panels,” which he said was “ludicrous.”
Some Republican opponents of health reform have said the Democratic plan sets up panels that could decide that people with expensive health care problems would not receive treatment. That allegation is false.
Supporters of health reform say it will rein in costs in the long run by focusing on disease management programs to better treat people with chronic illnesses, such as diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure, and providing the kind of preventive programs to contain those diseases.