Today, all the major players in the health care industry, the American Hospital Association, the American Medical Association, Advamed, the California Hospital Association, the Greater New York Hospital Association, and SEIU, are releasing a letter promising to aid health care reform effort by cutting health care spending by 1.5 percentage points over the next 10 years. That’s $2 trillion!
Needless to say this is a very big deal for a two big reasons:
1. Remember 1994 when the medical-industrial complex teamed up to kill the Clinton universal health care initiative? Millions of dollars and vicious attack ads later, public and congressional support for eroded and health care reform is dead. This is the exact opposite of that. Now the weight of these big hitters are on the side of health care reform. That’s a lonely political island that opponents of health care, ie Republicans, are going to be left on.
2. Arguably more important than the health industry’s commitment to reducing spending is the way they’re going to cut costs:
In the letter the groups deliver to Obama on Monday, they will call for (among other things) creating electronic medical records, streamlining billing systems, linking payment to quality measurements, and encouraging the use of evidence-based guidelines. Taken together, the groups will say, these measures can reduce the annual rise in health care spending by 1.5 percentage points a year.
I think I just got hard…
These cost cutting measures not only save money, they drastically improve health care quality. As we know, electronic medical records save lives. Evidence based guidelines save lives, and linking payment to quality saves lives.