The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Larry McNeely, Health Care Advocate
Office: 202-546-9707 x303

Mike Russo, Attorney, Health Care Advocate, CALPIRG
Office: 213-251-3680 x332

Health Care Reform Can Save Three Trillion Dollars


As the Senate Finance
Committee wrestles with its health reform bill, a report re-released today
finds that a strong reform package could save the American economy $3 trillion

The $3
Trillion Question: What Health Care Reform Can Save For Families, Businesses
and Taxpayers

from the U.S. Public Interest Research Group provides state-by-state
estimates for how much various strong health reform measures can save small
businesses, family and government.

"Congress might wrangle over where to find
the $90 billion a year needed to fix our health care system," explained U.S. PIRG
Health Care Advocate Larry McNeely
. "But the economic benefits of reform
are three times larger than the cost of any plan before Congress. If they
fail to pass health reform, they'll be hanging America's families
and businesses out to dry."

The report also endorses a proposal, backed by the
White House and included in the Finance Committee bill, that would bring down
costs and sidestep political gridlock by empowering a new independent Medicare
Commission made up of doctors and health care experts to adopt the reforms that
can incentivize the highest-quality, most efficient care.

"Over the past decade, Congress has sat on
the sidelines while premiums have doubled," said Michael
Russo, CALPIRG Health Care advocate
and author of the report. "We know
how to get skyrocketing costs under control - now it's time for
Congress to step up and pass the strong cost-saving policies that our country

Among the potential savings identified in the

  • Streamlining
    health care billing and cutting red tape can reduce $350 billion of waste.
  • Adoption
    of health information technology and electronic medical records can save $180
  • Investing
    in unbiased research into the best treatments, drugs, and devices can save $480
  • Creating
    a public health insurance option to compete on a level playing field with
    private insurers can reduce national costs by $230 billion or more.

U.S. PIRG, the federation of state Public Interest Research Groups (PIRGs), stands up to powerful special interests on behalf of the American public, working to win concrete results for our health and our well-being. With a strong network of researchers, advocates, organizers and students in state capitols across the country, we take on the special interests on issues, such as product safety,political corruption, prescription drugs and voting rights,where these interests stand in the way of reform and progress.