It may seem like the wrong time to pursue health care reform; after all, the U.S. is more than $17 trillion in debt [source: U.S. Debt Clock]. The Obama administration maintains, though, that the cost of doing nothing is much higher than the cost of reform.
The U.S. spends more than $2 trillion on health care each year, which is about one-sixth of the economy [sources: Abelson, Leonhardt]. About $700 billion of that $2 trillion is spent on needless treatments that don't actually make the country's citizens any healthier [source: Tumulty]. In fact, the U.S. spends almost $3,000 more per person each year than any other industrialized country, yet it has higher infant mortality rates and lower life expectancies [source: Kane]. These costs are projected to grow more and more steeply each year, particularly in comparison to an average paycheck's growth. Health-care reform is designed to keep this growth in check, and though the initial 10-year cost of implementing the new legislation is $938 billion, reform will also reduce the deficit, reducing our country's health care costs by more than $200 billion over the first decade, and more than $1 trillion during its second decade [source: White House].