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White House Launches Effort to Reduce Health Care Costs

President Obama met with leaders of the health care industry this week to lay out a cost-cutting agenda that could result in savings for consumers as well as medical institutions in the coming years.

According to the White House, an agreement has been reached to try to reduce the growth of the nation's health care spending by 1.5 percentage points over the next 10 years. If this can be achieved, it will result in savings of more than $2 trillion, or about $2,500 for each American family.

Among the strategies laid out in the agenda is improved care for patients after a hospitalization, with an eye on cutting readmission rates. The plan also calls for reduced drug prices and competitive payment systems that would result in fewer Medicare overpayments to private insurers.

Also, the coalition of government and health care leaders plans to improve the overall accuracy of Medicare and Medicaid payments and to expand the Hospital Quality Improvement Program.

"The steps that are being announced today are significant. But the only way these steps will have an enduring impact is if they are taken not in isolation, but as part of a broader effort to reform our entire health care system," said the president.

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