WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Barack Obama said Saturday he wants to make additional resources available for overhauling the nation's health care system by dramatically reducing current medical costs to the government.
In his weekly radio and Internet address, Obama proposed $313 billion in cuts and new savings over the next decade. Some of the funds would come from from expected increases in efficiency, reductions in excessive hospital payments and drug cost savings from individuals enrolled in both Medicare and Medicaid, the White House said.
But he did not specify precisely what form much of those cuts might take, saying the new savings would "come from commonsense changes."
"For example – if more Americans are insured, we can cut payments that help hospitals treat patients without health insurance," he said.
"If the drug makers pay their fair share, we can cut government spending on prescription drugs. And if doctors have incentives to provide the best care instead of more care, we can help Americans avoid the unnecessary hospital stays, treatments, and tests that drive up costs."
The funds would be in addition to the $635 billion in spending cuts and tax funds Obama has already requested to help ease the transition to a new system that would cover uninsured Americans and do a better job of slowing the surge in medical costs.
Budget chief Peter Orszag told reporters Friday the combined total savings would cover the cost of the process, though outside experts have estimated a price tag that would likely exceed $1 trillion.
"We are making good on this promise to fully finance health care reform over the next decade," Orszag told reporters on a conference call, though he would not dismiss the prospect of additional future costs.
Orszag conceded there might be a need to generate "additional resources that are necessary, and we would work with the Congress to come up with them if they are, but we haven't seen [those costs]," he said. "The committees are still writing the legislation, and the precise cost involved has yet to be determined. What we wanted to do was put enough specificity on the table to get in the range."
The president's latest proposals, like his earlier cost-cutting suggestions, would still need to get a congressional seal of approval - a hurdle that may be tough to clear.
"These savings underscore the fact that securing quality, affordable health care for the American people is tied directly to insisting upon fiscal responsibility," said the president. "And these savings are rooted in the same principle that must guide our broader approach to reform: We will fix what's broken, while building upon what works.
"I know some question whether we can afford to act this year. But the unmistakable truth is that it would be irresponsible to not act."
The president's comments come amid a fresh administration push on health care. Obama held a town hall in Green Bay, Wisconsin, on Thursday that focused on the issue.
On Monday, he will address the American Medical Association - a group that has long been skeptical of his health care agenda.
Thin on everything. Fat on verbosity.
I am very nervous about these nebulous healthcare proposals. To begin with, stop telling me about costs incurred now, but savings coming over the next ten years. I'm also seeing the perception that providers administer healthcare based on volume rather than outcome. The legal climate dictates that the outcome had better be good, or we get sued. Why do we want more patients to be treated under the existing formula, which is less pay than our cost of operation? We want to see fewer patients, not more. There are no appointments available for new Medicare or Medicaid patients as is. How can we cram more patients into an already overcrowded day and have better outcomes? Who will pay for and own all the high tech equipment that is considered necessary for good treatment if the providers have the revenue cuts that Obama refers to? A sonogram machine currently costs us about $60,000.00. Reimbursement is negligible. Will the government pay for that, or do the patients do without? Reduce ER care? If you can't get into a clinic, the emergency room is your only choice. Who will pay for all this is a mystery to me, but this looks like excessively high taxes for everybody, not just the rich, and less access to medical care seem the most likely outcome.
He's going to destroy healthcare like he's destroyed everything else that he's attempted to fix so far.
Come on people – let's hear the ranting and raving from the wealthy that have health insurance – or those that are so dead-set against this country having health care.
A simple immediate way to create health care cost savings would be to rewrite the Medicare Prescription Drug Program to allow the government to huge its huge buying power to negotiate lower prices for pharmaceuticals for senior citizens. That would save Tens of Billions of dollars. The Repiglicans specifically wrote a provision into the original bill to prevent the government from doing so therefore preserving the huge transfer of wealth from the backs of the middle class to the Repiglicans' corporate masters in the Pharmaceutical Industry.
If saving money through buying in bulk is good enough for Wal-Mart, it's good enough for the Federal Government.
So in the short time the democrats in congress have been working on this health plan it should be laid out down to each period and semi-colon already. Come on republicans...... After all it took bush and his republican crooks in congress to ruin everything in this country, it is going to take TIME to fix them.
And with the daily whining and moaning and obstructing of the republicans it is hard to try to work the MIRACLES the republicans of all people expect.
Maybe we should call the republicans The Kiddies Party instead of the Party of NONSENSE.
How about some hate-mongering from Insurance people? They have the biggest, best buildings in any town or city and run the most ads n TV. Paid for with Profits from YOUR Premums.
Anything from you all?
I'm a Democrat but this man is only proving each day why he should not have been elected. Now to a Government jet for party with his family. Ridiculous. We're still ungoing people like George Bush. Don't let this man take down America.
and I am going to buy my first million dollar home. Details are sketchy on how I am going to do this. This presidency is being marred by statements without action.
There is too much money being spent by the Health Industry in Congress for us to expect too much. These companies are running scared because they know if public medical care becomes available they are in deep trouble.
It's time for the leeches to find other blood to suck.
you left out the part about 600 billon more in taxes, ummmm
that aint thin is it
When's the last time you were wowed by a government run program? This will stifle innovation in the health care industry. I'd love some more details on how this is going to be affordable long-term. Like most of Obama's plans, full on fancy words but empty of any real substance.
What is the magic formula to provide more health care for all and still reduce the over all cost without quality SUFFERING? Where numbers and mathematics should balance, it seems highly improbable!! Is it to take from some and give to others without additional cost?? I see a lot of 'IFs' in these proposals.
In the Sermon on the MT, it is said a few loaves and fish were split among thousands. Is there to be providential intervention in these proceedings concerning health care???
Obama is ALWAYS THIN ON DETAILS...He was thin on details throughout the election (you were a racist if you asked him for any details)...He's been thin on details about ALL THOSE CZARS HE"S APPOINTED AND WHY HE NEEDS THEM...He is thin on details about Gitmo (He's just doing whatever he wants and telling the US people to suck it up)...He was thin on details for the Spendfest but we had to do it quickly or the sky would fall.
HIS ENTIRE PRESIDENCY WILL BE SUMMED UP WITH "THIN ON DETAILS" but that's usually how it works when a despot is attempting to change a Republic into HIS DICTATORSHIP!
Of course he is ....The dude is an empty suit and the soon the idiots , I mean democrats realize it the better off this country will be.......Obama is already the biggest failure ever to live in the White House. ANd would take Bush over that idiot any day of the week. At least Bush stood for something and didnt change his views based on weekly opinion polls......
How dare this man even speak the same two words, Medicare and Medicaid, in the same breath! Doesn't he know that one is for people who worked for a living and earned this health care benefit while the other is for people who did not, do not, and will not work to help themselves! Yes, cut the freeloaders out, but do not cut any benefit for those who have earned it by paying their taxes all these years.
I say give Barry a free reign to do whatever he wishes. He is such a wise and brilliant individual. His idols in Venezuela and Cuba have taught him well. We will be just fine. Trust me.
katiec – you play a wonderful good cop / bad cop game. CNN has its nose so deep in Obama's ass it is a crime. I am guessing you will escape the education camps Barry is funding through Americorp.
No estimate of cost or savings by any federal government agency or individual has been accurate. The savings have never materialized, or the spending has been many multiples more than estimated.
I refuse to risk the quality of health care we have to this inexperienced, socialistic president's ideals for pushing everyone to the government trough....................GIVE IT UP.
No part of Socialized medicine do we nee. Is the president and all of congress out of theie minds?
Ron , you are off your rocker.!!!!
There are no savings unless we restrict care.
It is a simple as that. Further, if everyone stops smoking and stays at a good wieght thus living longer, medical costs will go up (as will Social Security costs as well).
Think about it-the longer one lives the more medical care we consume. We all will get sick and die and it is the last phase where we all consume a lot of medical care because we are seldom sure that is the last illness.
Obama is not thinking very clearly. He is intelligent, thus, I think he simply wants government control. He thinks his way is better. Do you think the government offices will be efficient, fair, and timely?
GI Joe – have you ever seen a photo of Obama's manse in Chicago ? The point man for the new proletariate is a Marxist Leninist. Egalistarianism for thee, but not for me.
the republicans and alarmists in this conversation wish to see more of the same - more expenditures for war and killing, and less for domestic uses like caring for our own people.
this country has the largest military budget in the world. let's try allocating government funds for more practical uses than immature superiority chants across foreign soil.
Obama thin on details, who would have ever thought??
If you are old and need a heart transplant or a serious surgery too bad! Obama is a poor leader just a good talker.I know a lot of people that voted for him just because he promised free health INS. if you need a flu shot that might take 3 weeks lol!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!