Most of us agree: "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." But our health care system is "broke," and we've got to fix it now. Why?

Our health care system is bankrupting us. Bankruptcies due to health care costs have grown from 5 percent in 1981 to 62 percent today. Almost no one is safe from potential medical bankruptcy.

We are paying more and getting less for health care than nearly every other country. Americans easily rank first when it comes to what we pay for health care, but 24th when it comes to healthy life expectancy.

Health care costs are rising at an unsustainable rate. In 1990, we spent $2,813 per person on health care, and by 2007, we were spending $7,498. This is expected to reach $12,782 by 2016. That is more than $36,000 for a family of three. We must start "bending the health care cost curve" now.

Government-run and private programs all over the world are providing better health care at a lower cost. France has private physicians, and the bills are paid by the government. France ranks first in outcomes and spends much less than we do -- 11.2 percent of gross domestic product versus 15.2 percent in the U.S. What we need to fear is "business as usual" and not a so-called government takeover.

It is time to take action on health care cost and quality in our country

We must act now. Our families cannot afford it, our companies cannot afford it, our government cannot afford it and America cannot remain competitive unless we control health care costs.

Congress must break the logjam. A threatened filibuster by all 41 Republican senators has stopped health care reform dead. Majority rule no longer seems to apply in the Senate. This is intolerable.

Passing a bill via reconciliation is ugly but necessary. The reconciliation process will allow a majority vote by the whole Senate. This process has been followed 22 times in the last several years, 17 times by Republicans.

What does each of us need to do? Wake up to the danger, find out the facts and don't be swayed by insurance company propaganda and Tea Party hysteria. We must demand health care reform from your representatives and senators on the phone, in writing or in person.

Michael Cohen