After an 18-month study of America's health-care system, a bipartisan commission concludes that it is "approaching a breaking point." The nation will overlook--or play politics with--this gloomy diagnosis at its peril. Sen. John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.), chairman of the commission, says that failure to improve health care could bring the United States to its knees.
The study group consisted of a dozen members of Congress and three medical experts appointed by former President Reagan, including a past president of the American Medical Assn.
As to the sometimes abysmal and often haphazard access to medical help in the United States, there was no dissent. The report drew criticism mainly on questions of how to change the system and where to find the estimated $72 billion a year that improving the system will cost.
There are shocks everywhere you look in the 315-page analysis. The number of Americans with no insurance of any kind to help pay for medical care now is up to 37 million. Another 60 million have some insurance, but not enough. What's more, these are not people on the economic fringes. Three-fourths of them have jobs or are in families that earn income.