President Obama Talks Healthcare

May 11, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
The president is crying foul against what he calls outrageous health care costs.With some of the most powerful players in the health industry pledging inside the White House to reduce health care costs, President Obama called today historic. "The groups that are here represent different constituents. But what's brought us all together today is a recognition that we can't continue down the same road. The costs are out of control."

Groups such as doctors, labor, drug companies and even the insurance industry have agreed to cut costs by $2-trillion over the next 10-years. It's the first step in President Obama's plan to push health care reform through Congress.

The agreement could lower costs for families who pay for their own insurance like Daniel and Judith Russo. "We're depleting what would have been savings for retirement; we're spending our retirement pre-retirement age," said Dan Russo.

But by cutting costs 1.5 percent a year for a decade, the White House thinks tens of millions of Americans without insurance will be able to get it. And the White House said there's evidence to prove their point.

Health Care Study author Elliot Fisher said, "We can actually spend less and get better care and better health. That's the surprise."

Dr. Elliot Fisher headed a study by Dartmouth Medical School that found enormous waste in health care costs. "Much of healthcare spending, probably 30% of it, is devoted to unnecessary stays in the hospital, unnecessary diagnostic tests, to unnecessary referrals to specialists, or more frequent visits then patients need."

This is just the start of the health care discussion, but there are still major hurdles to overcome. The insurance industry for example does not want a government insurance option that would compete for patients against private insurers.

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