Cutting red tape to reform health care

Steve Henn Jun 3, 2009
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Cutting red tape to reform health care

Steve Henn Jun 3, 2009
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TEXT OF STORY

President Obama met with Democratic senators yesterday to talk about how to pay for health care reform. One way would be to tax the health care benefit you get from your employer. In the presidential campaign, Obama ruled that out, but senators say the president has put it back on the table.

Another way to pay for reform is through cost savings. Industry representatives say they’re looking for those savings. Marketplace’s Steve Henn reports on a cost-cutting idea Thoreau would have approved of: “Simplify, simplify.”


Steve Henn: Right now if you’re a doctor, chances are you accept at least a dozen different types of insurance. And each insurer has its own separate billing system, forms, codes and red-tape. Lots of doctors hire full-time business managers who do nothing but navigate these systems and try to make sure doctors get reimbursed.

Robert Zirkelbach is with the lobbying group America’s Health Insurance Plans:

Robert Zirkelbach: There’s a real opportunity to save hundreds of billions of dollars over the next 10 years.

Just by simplifying billing for doctors. So this summer, the insurance industry is testing a new online service that lets doctors go to one Web site and fill out only one set of standardized forms.

But Senator Charles Grassley is skeptical these kinds of ideas are going to solve the health care crisis.

Charles Grassley: They’re probably being made in good faith and there probably can be some savings made.

But Grassley says penny pinching probably won’t provide enough new cash to cover all the uninsured.

In Washington, I’m Steve Henn for Marketplace.

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