President Obama Speaks to AMA House

President Barack Obama spoke at the Annual Meeting of the American Medical Association (AMA) House of Delegates held in Chicago, Ill. June 15 to reiterate his stance on health care reform.

Speaking to an audience representing the nation’s physicians, the president reaffirmed his health care reform goals to “eliminate waste, reduce costs, and improve quality.”

We can accomplish these goals, President Obama said, by:

  • Adopting electronic medical records (EMRs). This will save money over time by eliminating redundancy and medical errors in the health care system;
  • Insisting Americans take better care of their health through preventative care encouraged by doctors and employers;
  • Paying for quality, not quantity health care. This could be achieved, the president said, by bundling payments, creating incentives for coordinated care, awarding bonuses for good health outcomes, and rewarding medical students who go into primary care;
  • Better informing doctors of latest treatment guidelines;
  • Expanding the role of the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) and putting its proposals on the fast track; and
  • Insuring every American. This would spread out risk for insurance companies, which in turn will reduce costs, the president said. Americans would keep the insurance they have or get it through a health insurance exchange system.

To pay for reform, President Obama said, the government should consider limiting tax deductions “wealthy” Americans can take and make spending cuts after examining inefficiencies in Medicare.

The Obama administration is already looking at ending Medicare Advantage overpayments in part by introducing competitive bidding into the program. Also on the table is to use Medicare reimbursements to reduce preventable hospital readmissions, as well as to introduce generic biologic drugs into the marketplace and offset medication cost for the poor by having “well-off” seniors pay more.

Additional savings can be achieved by insuring every American, through more efficient purchasing of prescription drugs, and by rooting out waste, abuse and fraud throughout the health care system, the president said.

Click here to read the full transcript.

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