Weekend Reading

If you’re not outside enjoying the nice summer weekend and, like me, you are a health care policy wonk, there are a few important developments to be following.
First, this morning in the President’s weekly address he laid out the details of $313 billion in additional Medicare and Medicaid savings that can be used to pay for health care reform. Taken on top of what we laid out in our budget, the President now has put forward nearly $950 billion in savings and revenue that can be used for health care reform.
These real, scoreable proposals put us squarely in the ballpark for funding a comprehensive reform in a deficit neutral way – a priority of the President. Over the coming weeks, we’ll work with Congress to make sure that every dollar is paid for.
Second, Jonathan Skinner, a professor of economics at Dartmouth and a co-author of the 2008 Dartmouth Atlas of Health Care, has an excellent post on the Economix blog defending the work he and his colleagues have done in documenting the wide variations in health care costs across the nation. The massive variations in the standard of care represent hundreds of billions hundreds of billions of dollars on health care that does nothing to improve health outcomes. Cutting these inefficiencies and replicating the kind of medicine being practiced in high-quality, lower-cost areas – such as Green Bay, WI where the President just visited -- present a real opportunity to bring down the growth in health care costs and put our nation on a sustainable fiscal path.
Finally, on Monday the President will address the American Medical Association in Chicago.

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