As Congress is starting to face the fact that passage of a health reform bill is unlikely before the scheduled August recess, President Obama held a news conference last night to address concerns that have voiced by Americans.
Obama stated that changes in the delivery of care must be made in order to save money, which will in turn, be used to fund health coverage for the uninsured. His proposals included better communication between hospitals and doctors so patients aren't receiving repetitive tests, use of less expensive drugs, and higher Medicare reimbursement rates for healthcare providers who spend more time with their patients. The bottom line of the President's plan is to ensure that all Americans have health coverage and receive quality, cost-effective care.
Even members of Obama's own party are skeptical about proposed plans. Moderate Blue Dog Democrats are countering Speaker Nancy Pelosi's (D-CA) claim that there are enough votes to pass the House's version of the bill. They claim that additional provisions need to be made to exempt small businesses from the requirement that all employers help pay for their employees' health coverage, and that there needs to be more language regarding offsets that will fund the government-run coverage option.
The Senate is also continuing negotiations on their version of the reform bill, with members of the Senate Finance Committee trying to figure out ways to raise revenue to fund the government health plan.
Sources: The Washington Post, CQ