Peter R. Orszag, director of the White House Office of Management and Budget:
"... this week a stunning thing happened: Representatives from some of the most important parts of the health-care sector -- doctors, pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, insurers and medical-device manufacturers -- confirmed that major efficiency improvements in health-care are possible. They met with the president and pledged to take aggressive steps to cut the currently projected growth rate of national health-care spending by an average of 1.5 percentage points in each of the next 10 years. By making this pledge, the providers and insurers made clear that they agreed the system could remove significant costs without harming quality.
The "Whole Truth"
Robert Pear, journalist for the New York Times:
Health care leaders who attended the meeting have a different interpretation. They say they agreed to slow health spending in a more gradual way and did not pledge specific year-by-year cuts.
“There’s been a lot of misunderstanding that has caused a lot of consternation among our members,” said Richard J. Umbdenstock, the president of the American Hospital Association. “I’ve spent the better part of the last three days trying to deal with it.”
And Nothing But the Truth:
The Treasury had to revise its revenue estimates again earlier this week, as part of the final fiscal year 2010 budget submission for the Obama administration. The president’s initial February proposal for financing just half of his healthcare initiative’s reserve fund of $635 billion over the next decade came up a little short, upon further review by the fiscal referees upstairs in the booth. Obama’s original down payment for sweeping healthcare reform included a projected $317 billion from imposing a 28 percent ceiling on itemized deductions by Americans in the top two income tax brackets (where tax rates are higher than that figure). Treasury now calculates that this proposal would raise only $267 billion, or roughly 84 percent of the original projection.-Wes