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As leaders in Washington debate the future of a plan to get our nation’s arms around the colossal health care system, it’s worthwhile to take a look at how things would be different today if some past health reform efforts had succeeded.

What if … President Nixon’s plan had passed before he left office? According to The Commonwealth fund, if President Nixon’s plan had passed, the United States might be spending a trillion dollars a year less than it does now.

What if….President Clinton’s efforts to pass health reform had succeeded? President Clinton’s plan would have reduced spending by some $500 billion a year according to The Commonwealth Fund.

What if … this latest attempt to get a handle on the health care system doesn’t succeed?

* Will typical family premiums double in ten years to $24,000 as predicted?
* Will the number of uninsured really increase from 49 million today to between 57 million and 66 million by 2019?
* Will states struggle to meet the staggering increases in the number of people who must rely on Medicaid and CHIP for affordable coverage?

“People think if we do nothing, we will have what we have now,” said Karen Davis, the president of the Commonwealth Fund. “In fact, what we will have is a substantial deterioration in what we have.”

if Congress and the Administration are unable to find a way to follow-through on health reform this time around, only time will tell how this missed opportunity would impact all of us, our children and our grandchildren. Let’s hope they are able to rise to the challenge so future generations won’t look back on this moment in history and think to themselves how much better life would be “if only …”

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