In a move White House officials are calling a "game-changer," representatives of the major players in the health care industry -- doctors, drug companies, health insurers, hospitals, business and labor -- will come to the White House today to pledge to reduce health care costs by 1.5 percent annually over the next decade. The savings adds up to $2 trillion by 2019, the White House says.
The announcement "makes it clearer than ever that health care reform is going to happen in the Congress," a senior administration official said.
"We cannot continue down the same dangerous road we've been traveling for so many years, with costs that are out of control, because reform is not a luxury that can be postponed, but a necessity that cannot wait," President Obama will say today after the meeting, according to excerpts released by the White House.
"It is a recognition that the fictional television couple, Harry and Louise, who became the iconic faces of those who opposed health care reform in the '90s, desperately need health care reform in 2009. And so does America. That is why these groups are voluntarily coming together to make an unprecedented commitment," the president is expected to say.
With the savings, the administration hopes millions of Americans who don't have or cannot afford insurance will be able to get a plan.
White House officials often cite a study from The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice which explored why the same health care coverage can cost up to three times more in one part of the country than in another, with no better result.
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