Ten years after President Clinton’s ambitious attempt at comprehensive health care reform died, several old and new issues with the health care system have emerged. First, the number of uninsured Americans rose to 43.6 million in 2002—and the numbers have since increased. Also, the costs for those who do not have insurance are rapidly increasing. In addition health care related problems are one of the leading causes of personal bankruptcy in the United States. Finally, the government’s two primary health insurance programs—Medicare and Medicaid—are experiencing considerable financial strain. Dr. Mayes examines these problems in depth before and revisits President Clinton’s health care reform plan and the reasons it failed. These include: the role of private insurance in covering the uninsured; whether public programs should be expanded to include additional groups; and the commitment of adequate budgetary resources required to assist those who are unable to afford the full cost of health coverage. Mayes concludes that while there are many serious issues in health care that need to be addressed, the health care system has managed to survive even with all of its existing flaws.

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Copyright © 2004, University of Maryland School of Law. This article first appeared in Journal of Health Care Law and Policy: 7:2 (2004), 242-279.

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