Health Care Costs Should Be Reduced

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A coalition of 28 national organizations, such as AFL-CIO, Consumers Union and CDC, has formed the National Priorities Partnership, a group that seeks to reduce health care costs and improve quality of care, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports. The group says progress can be made even in the absence of government action through a health care reform plan.

According to the group, health insurers can change their reimbursement policies to eliminate unnecessary medical tests and treatments, and hospitals can change their policies to reduce serious medical errors and infections. In addition, medical groups can begin to educate patients about appropriate treatments for their conditions, according to the group.

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George Isham -- medical director of HealthPartners, which represents health insurers in the group -- said, "We're not waiting" for government action, adding, "This is as much a challenge to each other as to the government."

However, "there are also things that only the federal government can make possible," such as a "national county-by-county health index to form a baseline and measure progress over the years," the Star Tribune reports. The federal government also "has control over the purse strings at Medicare and can offer incentives for reducing unnecessary care that would have national impact," according to the Star Tribune (Lee, Minneapolis Star Tribune, 11/18).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, search the archives, and sign up for email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email . The Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. © 2007 Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.

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