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Hospitals Vow Cost Cuts Amid Concerns on Reform’s Price Tag

Three major hospital organizations joined the effort to cut medical costs and agreed to contribute $155 billion over the next 10 years to the cost of health care reform. Betty Ann Bowser reports.

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  • JIM LEHRER:

    Major hospital organizations joined the effort today to cut medical costs. It was the latest move to help pay for a sweeping reform of the health care system.

    Betty Ann Bowser has our lead story report.

    BETTY ANN BOWSER, NewsHour correspondent: Vice President Joe Biden announced the deal in Washington today with administration officials and leaders of the nation's three largest hospital groups by his side.

  • U.S. VICE PRESIDENT JOSEPH BIDEN:

    Those who don't have insurance because they've lost their jobs or have been denied coverage because someone in their family has a pre-existing condition are throwing themselves at the mercy of the people who represent the major hospitals in the United States of America today. And, as a result, our hospitals are cracking under the weight of providing quality health care for Americans who lack insurance.

  • BETTY ANN BOWSER:

    Under the agreement, the Catholic Health Association of the United States, the American Hospital Association, and the Federation of American Hospitals would give up $155 billion of future Medicare and Medicaid payments over 10 years.

    The vice president had few details on exactly how the savings would be achieved, but he outlined the basic plan.

  • JOSEPH BIDEN:

    These reductions will be achieved through a combination of delivery system reforms, additional reductions in hospital, and additional reductions in the hospital's annual and inflationary updates.

    As our system becomes more efficient thanks to innovation, technology and electronic records, we'll show increases — we'll slow, I should say, increases in Medicare and Medicaid payments to hospitals. As more people are insured, hospitals will bear less of the financial burden of caring for the uninsured and the underinsured and we'll reduce payments to cover those costs in tandem with that reduction.