Academy Addresses Need for Universal Health Care

Published Online: Monday, March 1, 2004

In an attempt to put universal health insurance back at the forefront of the national agenda, the National Academy of Sciences has issued a report calling for the president and Congress to begin working to achieve universal health coverage by 2010. The report, summarizing 3 years of work by a panel of 15 experts, concludes, "Universal insurance coverage is an important and achievable goal for the country."

Although Congress has taken steps to expand coverage for children and for people who lose or switch jobs, the panel does not think it is adequate. "Comprehensive reform of the health insurance system, rather than expansion of the safety net, is essential," the report says.

Tommy G. Thompson, secretary of health and human services, is not optimistic that universal coverage will indeed happen by 2010. "I just don?t think it?s in the cards. I don?t think, administratively or legislatively, that it?s feasible." He also said, however, that the Bush administration was "committed to helping as many Americans as possible, as quickly as possible."

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