Some changes will be more immediate, such as the reforms on health IT and comparative effectiveness that were enacted by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, Orszag said. Health reform on the whole, however, should be looked upon as a “lifelong nutrition or diet plan” rather than studying for one big exam, Orszag emphasized. “It's a continuous effort,” and the health reform legislation under consideration in Congress will make it easier to carry out these long-term goals, he said.
Orszag specifically praised the reform bill undergoing debate in the Senate, claiming it would embody the “four pillars” the administration believes will move healthcare forward. These include the widespread use of health information technology; evidence-backed clinical research; payment system reforms; and a Medicare commission that would work to implement and fine-tune such components.
The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that the Senate's bill would reduce the federal deficit by $130 billion over the next decade.
Responding to GOP critics who believe the legislation isn't doing enough to contain costs, Orszag said some of the Republican proposals to enact medical malpractice reforms and allow people to buy insurance plans across state lines would only have “modest effects on cost and quality.”
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