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18 November 2017 08:18 (South Africa)

It’s gonna cost how much? Alarms over US health care reform costs

Now that the US House of Representatives has spoken, the action has moved to the Senate and there is a revolt brewing among some Democrats and outside analysts who worry the bills now being considered do not slow ballooning national health care spending. US President Barack Obama made cost a key part of his health reform agenda. But health economists say it is impossible to know yet if the bills would actually meet that goal, and scepticism that they can do so is growing. Experts say the measures in the bills only go a short way in revamping the current fee-for-services model that drives costs. Or as Democratic Senator Ron Wyden from Oregon said, “My assessment at this point is that the legislation is heavy on health and light on reform”.  Cost cutting ideas like bundling (a lump sum to health care providers to deal with an individual patient for a particular disease) are now under consideration.  The debate illuminates a real tension inside the Obama administration between cost-containment idealists and pragmatists. Current phrase of the day: The perfect is the enemy of the good. Read more: New York Times

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