Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
News

What About Spiralling Health Costs?

Not So Fast: Supporters cheered the Supreme Court?s decision to uphold President Obama?s health care plan. But the real battle may be just beginning. Image by getty images

The decision by the Supreme Court to uphold the constitutionality of nearly all of President Barack Obama?s health reform plan is very good news for those tens of millions of Americans who due to poverty or preexisting illnesses had no access to health insurance.

The court decision is purely a legal one ? pronouncing the permissibility of the federal government to impose a mandate on each of us to pay for health insurance. But the real impact of the decision is moral ? bringing nearly every American the protection of health insurance.

The reality of the decision today is that the debate over health care will now turn in a different direction. Giving access to more Americans even with the mandate to buy insurance will not cover the cost. Moreover, a rapidly aging society will see steady increases for more health care as older people are the heaviest users of hospitals, nursing homes and medical technologies. More people in the system and more demand mean an inevitable confrontation with cost-containment. Or, to put it bluntly, having solved the problem of access the next big challenge is to solve the problem of cost. Rationing is a topic that no one likes but which may well be an inevitable aspect of a health care system whose costs show no signs of diminishing.

It is a very good thing that more Americans will soon gain access to health insurance. Together we will now all have to decide how much health care we can afford.

Arthur L. Caplan is the Drs. William F. and Virginia Connolly Mitty Professor and head of the division of Bioethics at New York University Langone Medical Center.

Engage

  • SHARE YOUR FEEDBACK

  • UPCOMING EVENT

    SKY & SCULPTURE

    Hybrid: Online and at the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan

    Oct 2, 2022

    6:30 pm ET · 

    A Sukkah, IMKHA, created by artist Tobi Kahn, for the Marlene Meyerson JCC of Manhattan is an installation consisting of 13 interrelated sculpted painted wooden panels, constituting a single work of art. Join for a panel discussion with Rabbi Joanna Samuels, Chief Executive Director of the Marlene Meyerson JCC of Manhattan, Talya Zax, Innovation Editor of the Forward, and Tobi Kahn, Artist. Moderated by Mattie Kahn.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.