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Health Care Reform: Obama Administration Press Conference on May 11, 2009
At 12:30 pm ET on Monday, May 11, President Obama had a press conference on healthcare reform to discuss a letter his administration received from a coalition of organizations, including: American Medical Association (AMA), PhRMA (Phamaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America), Advamed (device manufacturers), American Hospital Association (AHA), America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), and Service Employees International Union (SEIU). Obama praised the groups for recent collaborative efforts to stem the tide of healthcare costs.
Although no specific details were released, he stated that consensus proposals from this group would slow the rate of growth in healthcare expenditures by 1.5% per year for the next ten years (adding up to $2 trillion dollars). This effort is viewed as parallel to his campaign promise to make healthcare more affordable for all Americans, but he emphatically stated that this process was complementary to, and not a replacement for, Congressional efforts for more comprehensive reform. He outlined general priorities in the areas of improving quality and efficiency of care, lowering hospital readmissions, and identifying and weeding out waste, fraud, and abuse.
He also laid out three principles for his administration's approach to healthcare reform: 1) that rising costs must be brought down, 2) that Americans must be able to keep their doctor or health plan and have the ability to choose their doctor, and 3) that all Americans must have access to quality, affordable healthcare. Notably absent from this discussion was any commitment to a so-called 'public option,' a potential insurance option administered by the government and, as you know, a significant sticking point in the policy discussions within Congress.
In general, the content of the press conference indicates that the administration is continuing its policy of letting the comprehensive (detail-containing) proposals come from Congressional leaders while doing its best to keep interest groups typically opposed to reform invested in the current efforts.
ACA views the conference as confirmation that health care reform is an issue that the President is prepared to spend political capital on, but recognizes the reality that many of the details that could make or break any given proposal are being worked out in Congress. ACA's Government Relations team continues to visit Congressional offices and work with various staffs on elements of various concepts that could have an impact on the chiropractic profession, as well as generally pushing ideas like the importance of preventative care in a reformed health care system. ACA has and will continue to press the Obama administration for invitations to all meetings related to healthcare reform. ACA advises doctors of chiropractic to recruit patients for participation in chirovoice.org; health reform will be decided by individual Congressional votes and a robust chiropractic advocacy network will strongly position the profession.
Update: in the week after the conference, the American Hospital Association disputed the Obama administration's representation of the promises outlined by the groups. Check out the information/perspectives below for more information.
This Event in the News
- Washington Post on the press conference
- Modern Healthcare article on controversy immediately following the press conference
- Ezra Klein (on what the press conference means)
- Ezra Klein (with a link to the actual letter from the organizations)
- Ben Smith of Politico