Healthcare reform could, paradoxically, get a boost because of the economic slump. But the bleak environment may paradoxically spur the kind of costly, sweeping overhaul of the nation's healthcare system that has eluded policymakers in Washington for decades, many political strategists, industry leaders and economists say.
Hospitals and physicians are increasingly worried about the escalating burden of newly unemployed workers being thrown onto the rolls of the uninsured. And businesses see new urgency in addressing the nation's healthcare crisis as they struggle to pay costs for medical benefits while sales plummet and profit margins shrivel. "Healthcare reform is very much linked to the broader economic issues that the country is facing," said Todd Stottlemyer, president of the National Federation of Independent Business.