Health care can work if people want it

Mannequins display the human body

TEXT OF STORY

Scott Jagow: Among the many things on Barack Obama's plate is the issue of health care. Obama has his own proposal for universal coverage. It's just one plan. A report out today looks at what is economically viable. Here's Alisa Roth.


Alisa Roth: The Commonwealth Fund looked at a bunch of proposals designed to get health insurance for more Americans. They're a private foundation that tries to promote a better health care system. And basically what they found was that several of the proposals could work, but the key is forcing people to get coverage.

Sara Collins is the lead researcher on the study:

Sara Collins: It's very difficult to get everyone covered unless there is a requirement. And that obviously has to be coupled with strong affordability standards, making sure that people have subsidies, particularly if they have low incomes, to allow them to afford a comprehensive plan.

The study points out that universal health care wouldn't be free. The federal government would most likely have to spend more. But the country's total spending on health care wouldn't go up by much. Especially if the plan used economies of scale to lower costs.

In New York, I'm Alisa Roth for Marketplace.

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