WASHINGTON, D.C. — Pres. Barack Obama called hospital, drug and insurance industry leaders to the White House on Monday to appeal to their higher purposes — cut $2 trillion out of America’s health care bill over the next 10 years.
The health care leaders signed on for the challenge, knowing the move would earn them a place at the table to negotiate terms of the nation’s health care reform.
But as the president and leaders were celebrating their new collaboration, lawmakers on Capital Hill were planning legislation that is expected to kick off a struggle among health care titans to protect profits while cutting costs, according to the Los Angeles Times.
“Health care’s legendary interest groups have stayed at the table in ways that are unprecedented historically,” Drew Altman, a health care policy analyst at the nonprofit Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, told the L.A. Times. “As this debate enters a new phase, the big question is will they still be there.”
Consumer groups and doctors, insurers and drug companies, labor unions and business groups have been meeting in congressional chambers and conference rooms in Washington to advance the nation’s campaign to reform its health care system — and to advance their own purposes.
Since September, Sen. Edward Kennedy — who is being treated for brain cancer — has convened twice weekly meetings to convene health care industry groups to develop legislation, the Times said. An initiative led by health care consumer advocate Families USA used a professional mediator to bring together the usually antagonistic groups.
Some of the groups have bought advertisements together to promote health care overhaul. “This is an enormous change,” Ken Thorpe, health care economist at Emory University in Atlanta, told the Times.
More stories worth a read:
- The healthcare industry makes its move on reform (BNET Healthcare)
- White House seeks tax changes to fund health efforts (Wall Street Journal; subscription required)
- American Medical Association prez-elect: What docs want in return for curbing costs (Wall Street Journal Healtha blog)
- Senate considers health insurance mandate (Wall Street Journal Health blog)
- Progenics cuts 10% of staff (FierceBiotech)
- Patients injured by faulty medical devices want laws to hold manufacturers accountable (Cleveland Plain Dealer)
- Swine flu vaccine manufacturers gear up (Financial Times)
- Google, Microsoft may help usher in personalized medicine wave, says George Church (Xconomy Boston)
- Hospitals begin to move into supermarkets (New York Times)
- Walmart begins to rebuild health clinic business (New York Times)
- Boston Scientific announces European approval and first implants of new defibrillation lead system designed to simplify the surgical process (Boston Scientific)
- Lifecore Biomedical marketing biogel (Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal)
- P. Hunter Peckham awarded 2009 Hovorka prize (Case Western Reserve University)
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