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Stacey Vanek-Smith: The juggernaut that is the stimulus bill has everyone’s attention right now. That has some Washington insiders worried that everything else will get pushed to the back burner. To that end, a group of health care reformers meets today in Washington, as John Dimsdale reports.
John Dimsdale: Some lawmakers say they can cut the cost of government-sponsored health care by pooling the purchasing power of large groups of patients. These reformers are encouraged by President Obama’s attention to health reform.
David Helms: He comes with a lot of excitement that we’re gonna address this issue after not having done so for a while.
David Helms is the CEO of Academy Health, which has sponsored the annual National Health Policy Conference since 2000. He thinks reform is imminent.
Helms: The pressure is enormous. The health care costs are getting to be unsustainable for certainly state governments and employers.
Many reformers say rising unemployment will create more public support for government-sponsored health insurance. But the Urban Institute’s Robert Reischauer wonders how the government can afford it.
Robert Reischauer: The economic crisis constrains the resources that we have available for long-run investments of this sort.
Reischauer expects only incremental health care changes in the next few years.
In Washington, I’m John Dimsdale for Marketplace.