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Kind, Braley and McCollum Focus on Savings in Health Care to Address Fiscal Cliff

December 13, 2012
Press Release

For Immediate Release:  December 13, 2012                                        
Contact:  Maria Reppas, (202) 225-6631 / (202) 527-0149

Washington, DC – U.S. Reps. Ron Kind (D-WI), Bruce Braley (D-IA) and Betty McCollum (D-MN) today led a letter with a bipartisan group of 17 of their colleagues asking President Obama and House leadership to examine and build upon cost saving measures in the Affordable Care Act when addressing the fiscal cliff.

“Health care is the largest and fastest growing area of spending in the federal budget,” said Rep. Kind. “To find savings we have to go where the money is. That means building off of the reforms in the Affordable Care Act that transition our health care system from fee-for-service to one that provides better care at a better cost. This is the best long-term solution to controlling costs and improving patient care.”

They write, “A recent Institute of Medicine (IOM) study shows that 30 percent of health care dollars are wasted.  The IOM estimated the total waste and inefficiency in our health care system amounts to $750 billion every year.  We believe it’s possible to continue reducing health care costs and improve quality by further changing how we pay for health care. We again urge you to further expand value based payments to incentivize higher-quality, lower-cost care as part of any agreement reached to eliminate or delay the fiscal cliff. ”

“Reforming how healthcare providers are paid for their services could save taxpayers billions of dollars,” said Rep. Bruce Braley.  “With potential savings that big, we can’t afford to keep health care payment reforms out of the fiscal cliff negotiations.  By incentivizing health care quality over health care quantity, we can improve patient outcomes and cut government spending.  That’s a win-win.”

“Indiscriminate, across-the-board cuts to hospitals, physicians, and other providers will do nothing to stop the waste and inefficiency that currently plague our health care system,” said Rep. Betty McCollum. “Only the value-based reforms included in the Affordable Care Act will effectively reduce rising health care costs and reward providers that deliver quality, patient-centered care.”

Wisconsin Representatives Sean Duffy (WI-7), Gwen Moore (WI-4), Tom Petri (WI-6), Jim Sensenbrenner (WI-5) and Reid Ribble (WI-8) have also signed the letter.

Congresswoman Betty McCollum serves on the House Appropriations and Budget Committees.