Obama Says Health IT Should Be Part of Health Reform Efforts

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On Tuesday, President Obama sent a letter to Senate Finance Committee Chair Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chair Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) calling for the use of health IT and other measures to overhaul the U.S. health care system and reduce costs, Healthcare IT News reports.

Baucus and Kennedy are working to develop national health care reform legislation.

Obama urged the two Senate leaders to curb health care inflation by "promoting the best practices, not simply the most expensive." The president added that he is committed to addressing "the key drivers of skyrocketing health care costs, including unmanaged chronic diseases, duplicated tests and unnecessary hospital readmissions" (Monegain, Healthcare IT News, 6/4).

In his letter, Obama suggested that health care reform could generate additional revenue through the use of improved technology (Smith, Reuters, 6/3).

Other Proposals

Obama also outlined his proposal for a government-run health insurance plan that would compete with private companies.

He said he would consider proposals for "shared responsibility -- making every American responsible for having health insurance coverage, and asking that employers share in the cost." However, Obama also said there should be exemptions for people and small businesses that cannot afford coverage.

To offset the costs of health care overhaul, Obama urged Congress to extract $200 billion to $300 billion from Medicare and Medicaid over the next 10 years. The president already outlined $309 billion in cuts to the programs in his fiscal year 2010 budget (Pear, New York Times, 6/4).


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