Hospitals get in on health care reform

U.S. President Barack Obama, center, delivers remarks about health care reform at White House with Cedars-Sinai Health System President and CEO Tom Priselac, left, and Kaiser Foundation Health Plan Chairman and CEO George Halverson, right


Stacey Vanek-Smith: The Justice Department is reportedly looking into possible anti-trust violations by telecom companies like AT&T and Verizon. At issue: that you have to sign up for a certain service to get the handset you want. Like AT&T and the iPhone. It's all part of the Obama administration's tough stance on anti-trust issues.

The administration has been working overtime to get industry support for an overhaul of the U.S. health care system. Drugmakers got on board last month saying they'll spend up to $80 billion over 10 years to reduce costs for seniors. This morning, it looks like hospitals will be next to offer a deal. Marketplace's Dan Grech reports.

Dan Grech: Today, Vice President Joe Biden is expected to announce the administration's latest agreement on health care reform. The Washington Post reports that the nation's three largest hospital associations have agreed to forgo about $155 billion over the next decade.

The savings would come from money hospitals would not be paid. Two-thirds would come from lower Medicare and Medicaid payments. The other third would be from reducing subsidies hospitals get to care for the uninsured.

President Obama has argued that all health care players will need to sacrifice revenue for reform to fly. Meanwhile, congressional Democrats are trying to craft a bill that will cover the uninsured, get Republican support and not break the bank.

All that before the president's deadline for signing legislation: the end of the year.

I'm Dan Grech for Marketplace.

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The reforms and savings that the administration is pursuing are just smokescreen and does not deal with the real problem, which is healthcare for all Americans. Without any baseline numbers and cost freeze, the savings really do not mean anything. We do not need 'reform'. What we need is a policy that says 'healthcare guaranteed for all'. Deal with that problem - head on. The president needs to show leadership and spell out what is needed instead of Congress fighting it out - on non-profit coops etc. Also, the talk about free care means sub-standard care is nonsense to me. No one is talking about free care. Rest of the world - even Mexico has healthcare for all. Look at European countries and see what their quality of life and life expentancy are. That needs to tell us that we have a broken system that is manipulated by lobbyists and interest groups.

The healtcare plan my family has been using for years gave us two weeks to choose a new pediatrician because they can not 'negotiate' with the doctors we have been using since my children were born. How's that for choice?

I work as an RN. Continue the public airplane analogy. All business direct their employees to use the free mode of transportation. As ridership falls, the for profit lines close. Soon all that is available across the country is hte free planes. They never take off on time, are over crowded and the terminals are teeming with people hoping for an opening. The free plane crashes regularly but without an alternative, people are forced to continue to use the free plane. The free plane pilots aren't as skilled as the private pilots since they make a public sector wage. The unsuccessful pilots become stewards instead. People wistfully remember when they had a chioce about when and where they could fly whenever they desired, but now at least everyone can fly at some time, if they live long enough.

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