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Health care providers prepare for the reform debates

Pills on money symbolizes costs of U.S. health care

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JEREMY HOBSON: The debate over health care reform is back this week as Republicans in the House of Representatives plan a vote to repeal the new health care law. There are obvious political implications of the vote -- but there are implications for the health care industry as well.

Alan Miller is the CEO of Universal Health Services, a company that owns about 300 hospitals around the country. And he joins us now. Good morning.

ALAN MILLER: Good morning.

HOBSON: How are you having to adjust amid all this back and forth in Washington about the health care law?

MILLER: Well we have not adjusted much to it at the moment because we're not sure what it will ultimately be. And also, most of the provisions don't go into affect until 2014, but we are certainly very interested, involved and studying it carefully.

HOBSON: As you were watching the whole health care debate go down, and everybody was talking about trying to figure out ways to bring down costs, were you sitting there are any point screaming at the TV going, "This is the way you've got to bring down costs." I mean -- how do you bring down costs.

MILLER: My favorite way would be to see us get into malpractice reform. It would save on premiums, it would save on defensive medicine. The law mostly focused on extending coverage. And I think that's a good thing, and that would add more people with coverage. And the hospitals would have more people -- more patients.

HOBSON: You've been in the business for now decades. What is the biggest change you've noticed and where are we going in the world of health care at this point?

MILLER: Well, one thing that's happening is that we are all aging. And the percentage of Americans over 65, 75 and up is increasing very very rapidly. And just think about some advertisements. At one time you had younger people, they were smoking, outdoors, on ski slopes, etc. And now if you look at the advertising it's for erectile dysfunction, and its for diabetes and it's for over weight. So we're going to need a lot more by way of nursing, we're going to need more doctors, we're going to need more hospital beds as the decades come upon us.

HOBSON: Alan Miller, President and CEO of Universal Health Services. Thanks very much for talking with us.

MILLER: You're very welcome.

About the author

Jeremy Hobson is host of Marketplace Morning Report, where he looks at business news from a global perspective to prepare listeners for the day ahead.

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