The Associated Press -
Jun. 1: Washington - Health industry officials sought Monday to make good on a $2 trillion savings proposal announced with great fanfare at the White House, but they came up short by several hundred billion dollars.
Nevertheless, the officials claimed success in producing solid proposals in time for a deadline set by President Barack Obama after a White House photo op May 11 where they promised to curb their own costs to help his health care agenda.
Obama asked for a progress report by early June and the five industry groups and one labor union delivered it on Monday. They sent the White House a letter along with a series of cost-savings proposals they said could total $1 trillion to $1.7 trillion in savings over a decade.
"What you've seen is the coming together of some really unlikely bedfellows and it really is very important," said Dr. Nancy Nielsen, president of the American Medical Association. "This is a very serious collaborative effort."
The groups identified three big areas for savings: $150 billion to $180 billion from more-efficient use of health care services, $350 billion to $850 billion from better managing chronic diseases, and $500 billion to $700 billion through administrative and business improvements such as standardizing claim forms.
The groups — insurers, doctors, hospitals, drug makers, medical device manufacturers and a leading health care union — contended that the savings could be even bigger because they were conservative in their estimates and some of the ideas in their proposal hadn't been studied enough to be quantified.