Monday, May 18, 2009

Health Reform by the Numbers

White House Budget Director Peter Orszag says prevention programs are one of four steps needed in health reform to produce cheaper, better health care.

"How can we move toward a high-quality, lower-cost system?" Orszag asks in a May 15 Wall Street Journal op-ed. "There are four key steps: 1) health information technology, because we can't improve what we don't measure; 2) more research into what works and what doesn't, so doctors don't recommend treatments that don't improve health; 3) prevention and wellness, so that people do the things that keep them healthy and avoid costs associated with health risks such as smoking and obesity; and 4) changes in financial incentives for providers so that they are incentivized rather than penalized for delivering high-quality care."

Meanwhile, The New Republic's Jonathan Cohn reveals some preliminary cost estimates from the Congressional Budget Office and says, "according to several sources familiar with the estimates, the news isn't quite what Obama and his allies were hoping to hear."


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