The old health care system wasn't really a system. It was a compilation of reactions by business, government, consumers and the health care community to address individual issues. Developing and responsibly managing a strong infrastructure of care will benefit the entire Kansas City community and beyond. Health reform is the first step in creating a true system of care.
We're proud of our Midwest pioneering heritage in which everyone helped build communities, watched out for each other's safety and aided the sick or injured. Those communities were strongest when everyone participated. When a significant portion of the community can't participate in health care, it leaves fewer people to share the burden and results in less benefit.
The people of Kansas City continue to face the threat of job loss and becoming uninsured. And middle-class households will suffer the most without health reform. The percentage of these families without health coverage will rise from 19 percent today to a staggering 28 percent by the end of 2020.
With the passing of health reform, the number of uninsured Americans will be reduced. If things continued with the old system, the number of uninsured American would grow to 10 million people in just five years, and spending on government health care programs for the poor would have more than doubled by 2020.
Midwesterners have a long history of facing challenges head on. By managing current challenges before they get worse, we will aid our community through the responsible development of a true system for health care — one manageable step at a time.