Wait! We didn’t say we’d save nation $2 trillion in health care costs — MedCity morning read, May 15, 2009

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Pres. Obama meets with health care leaders on May 11, 2009

Pres. Obama meets with health care leaders on May 11, 2009

WASHINGTON, D. C. — Hospitals and insurance companies on Thursday said Pres. Barack Obama substantially overstated their promise earlier this week to reduce the growth of health spending, according to the New York Times.

Pres. Obama had asked health care industry leaders — representatives of hospitals and insurers, medical device and drug companies, labor and doctors – to the White House on Monday to tell the nation about their commitments to cut costs.

“These groups are voluntarily coming together to make an unprecedented commitment,” Obama said during a press conference Monday (video). “Over the next 10 years, from 2010 to 2019, they are pledging to cut the rate of growth of national health care spending by 1.5 percentage points each year — an amount that’s equal to over $2 trillion … $2 trillion.

“Their efforts will help us take the next and most important step — comprehensive health care reform — so we can do what I pledged to do as a candidate, and save a typical family an average of $2,500 on their health care costs in the coming years.

“Let me repeat that point, what they’re doing is complementary to and is going to be complete compatible with a strong, aggressive effort to move health care reform through here in Washington with an ultimate  of saving health care costs for families, businesses and the government.”

Health care leaders who attended Monday’s meeting interpreted their commitments differently. They say they agreed to slow health spending in a more gradual way and did not pledge specific year-by-year cuts, the Times said.

By Thursday, confusion over the commitments reigned in Washington as health care trade groups tried to reassure members, the Times said.

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[Photo of Pres. Barack Obama meeting with health care stakeholders in the Roosevelt Room at White House May 11, 2009. Official White House Photo by Pete Souza]

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Mary Vanac

By Mary Vanac

Mary Vanac is a co-founder of MedCity News.
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