Oops – Cancel that Projected $2 Trillion in Health Care Savings
Remember that big announcement by President Obama earlier this week that got a ton of coverage?
Barack Obama praised the health care industry’s promise to cut $2 trillion in costs over 10 years Monday, taking a sharply different course than President Bill Clinton did 16 years ago in an opening bid to overhaul the U.S. health system.
Drawing skepticism from lawmakers, Obama summoned representatives of the insurance industry, doctors, hospitals, pharmaceutical companies and labor groups to the White House for what he called “a watershed event in the long and elusive quest for health care reform.”
The president of the American Hospital Association said Thursday that a deal with the White House to cut the growth in health care spending has been “spun way away from the original intent.”
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… in a conference call Thursday, President Richard Umbdenstock told 230 member organizations that the agreement had been misrepresented. The groups, he said, had agreed to gradually ramp up to the 1.5 percentage-point target over 10 years – not to reduce spending by that much in each of the 10 years, .
So what went wrong? It seems that someone wanted to rush the announcement before the details of what is clearly a difficult, complicated goal had been ironed out.
The comments from Umbdenstock cap a week in which some in the Washington health care world struggled to make sense of the surprise White House announcement Monday. The group of six organizations with a major stake in health care – the Service Employees International Union, the American Medical Association, America’s Health Insurance Plan, Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers Association, the American Hospital Association and Advanced Medical Technology Association – had been working in secret for several weeks on a savings plan.
But they learned late last week that the White House wanted to go public with the coalition. One health care insider said: “It came together more quickly than it should have.” A health-care lobbyist said the participants weren’t prepared to go live with the news over the weekend, when the news of a deal, including the $2 trillion savings claim, was announced by White House officials to reporters. The fact sheet they distributed at the time offered general categories from which the savings would come, but few specifics on how they would be achieved.