News Release

Without Reform, Health Costs Will Double

For Immediate Release:

Without action from Congress, premiums for Americans with employer provided insurance will nearly double by 2016, according to a new report released today by the Montana Public Interest Research Group.

“Unchecked, health care premiums will double by 2016,” said MontPIRG's federal health care advocate, Larry McNeely. “The health care reforms in President Obama’s economic recovery plan are indispensable first steps to addressing this crisis.”

MontPIRG attributes the high cost of health care to wasteful health spending and the insurance and pharmaceutical industries that profit from it. The report concludes that America spends $700 billion which fuels profits for special interests without delivering better health care for patients.

The report spotlights three important categories of wasteful health spending:

•$299 billion each year was spent on inappropriate, ineffective and uncoordinated care which can actually cause harm to patients.

•An estimated $79 billion in costly red tape is generated created by bloated insurance company bureaucracy.

•Pharmaceutical manufacturers spend over $11.5 billion on marketing of prescription drugs.

McNeely lauds the recovery plan’s investment in the health care infrastructure. He states, “This legislation funding of health information technology, evidence-based prevention, and comparative effectiveness research will set the stage for the broader reforms needed to address the high cost of health care.”

The MontPIRG report calls for additional longer-term reforms that crack down on drug company marketing, rein in insurance industry red tape, and reform provider payment to encourage more effective medical care.

“This year, a new President and a new Congress have an opportunity to pass broad health reform that tames the wasteful inefficiency and skewed incentives that drive up our health care costs,” noted McNeely. “American families can’t afford to miss this opportunity.”

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MontPIRG is part of The Public Interest Network, which operates and supports organizations committed to a shared vision of a better world and a strategic approach to social change.