This was the week to state the problem. Obama told the AMA that healthcare costs are "unsustainable" and "a ticking time bomb"--on a trend to consume one in three dollars of GDP in three decades (see here). The CBO released a report saying that reforms currently on the table might raise costs, not lower them (see here). Three former majority leaders issued their own plan to pay for healthcare--higher taxes and lower reimbursements (see here). Then The New York Times weighed in with stories that Democrats may cut Medicare (see here).
It's not at all certain that any of these reforms will be enacted. The politics of fiscal pain have eluded Congress in recent decades. The opposition will include those with self-interest in the status quo as well as conservatives who fear nationalized healthcare. Perhaps the best argument Republicans have to scuttle reform is that the reforms won't do the job, since none promise to change the delivery system sufficiently to make universal care affordable.
But the new willingness to confront the flaws in the framework of healthcare delivery could lead towards what's really needed--a complete overhaul of the reimbursement, regulatory and liability structures of healthcare. These structures, like legal concrete poured over daily decisions, have neither the virtues of market discipline (there's no incentive by patients or providers to be frugal) nor the focus of central planning (the single payer countries at least understand that primary care is where first dollars should go). Add to the mix a complete and justified paranoia about lawsuits, and voila, you have the world's most inefficient health delivery--doctors doing whatever they can be reimbursed for, mindful of always protecting themselves legally, with patients demanding miracle cures after neglecting basic responsibility to take care of themselves. This is a "system" (actually more of a bureaucratic junkyard) without focus or discipline. That's the main reason it costs almost twice as much as healthcare systems in other countries that deliver better outcomes.