Commentary: Health care reform requires sacrifice

To work for Americans, our nation's health care delivery must become more fair, efficient and transparent.

Across the political spectrum, there is wide agreement about these goals.

Getting there is a different story.

In coming weeks, Congress will wrangle with the complexities of reforming health care. Who will gain and who will lose? Who will pay the costs of reform, estimated at a minimum of $1 trillion?

It's a daunting mission. But to do nothing, or to settle for minor fixes, is unacceptable. Without reform, experts believe that by 2020 more than one-fifth of our nation's economic resources will be tied up in a health care system that produces poor results and increasingly denies access to working Americans.

There's no escaping it: Health care reform will involve bitter medicine. Lawmakers are going to have to stifle their reluctance to impose mandates and – yes – some form of taxes. Ties to the insurance and pharmaceutical lobbies will of necessity be frayed.

Perhaps nothing has proved as divisive as the idea of a government-run medical plan that would compete with private plans.

To read the complete editorial, visit The Kansas City Star.