Health reform, often called Obamacare, may or may not survive legal challenges and the aftermath of the 2012 election. The new law and the alternatives put forth by its opponents are unlikely to alter U.S. health care's most pressing problems: physician shortages; uncontrollable cost increases; widespread and poorly controlled chronic disease, and widespread medical treatment that does not benefit patients.
InHealth Care in 2020, award-winning veteran journalist Steve Jacob distills six years worth of research and reporting on health care policy, and reveals where health care is headed and what can be done to change its perilous course.Health reform's major goal was to ensure everyone had affordable health insurance. How affordable that insurance will be is a separate – and more important – issue. By 2020:About 20 cents of every U.S. dollar will be spent on health care.Nearly 40,000 of the nation's doctors will have reached retirement age, contributing to an expected physician shortage of more than 90,000.Medicare and Medicaid are expected to account for 40 percent of the federal budget's growth.Average out-of-pocket medical costs are expected to consume 17 percent of household income for a family of four. A common rule of thumb is that health-care costs become a financial burden when they reach 10 percent of household income.About 81 million Americans will have multiple chronic conditions – compared with 51 million in 2000 – as baby boomers swell the ranks of retirees and aging bodies pay the price for poor lifestyle choices.More than 50 percent of Americans are expected to have diabetes or prediabetes.Americans will need to seize control of their health and health-care finances to avoid what appears to be a very perilous future. High costs are not inevitable. Exercising, eating right and maintaining a normal weight cuts the odds of heart disease, cancer and diabetes by 80 percent.Health Care in 2020tells you what the health-care landscape will look like by the end of the decade and how to navigate it.
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