President Obama continues to push for Congress to complete health care legislation by August.
But making that deadline appears to be difficult.
The House is reportedly considering delaying its August recess to complete the bill.
Tonight, the President will hold his fifth primetime press conferencesince his inauguration.
Key issue: healthcare reform program.
Maria spoke with Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health & Human Services of President Obama’s Healthcare Plan.
Maria:One of the major issues that we all face is the cost of soaring health care, which is of course, that the president has said breaking the backs of American families. Can you tell us in simple terms what is so expensive? Why do costs continue to soar every year?
Sebelius:Well, actually, we spend more, Maria than any country on earth. We spend about $2.5 trillion a year. And our health outcomes look like we're spending less than many countries. So we're not getting the bang for our buck. Premiums for those insured continue to rise, out of pocket costs rise. Deductibles rise and for those who are underinsured or have no coverage, they're finding it more and more difficult to keep themselves and families healthy. But the costs are crushing businesses, governments, families and we cannot sustain the current path we're on.
We all know that costs continue to rise but no one knows why. Maria asked Sebelius to pinpoint why exactly this cost is out of control.
Sebelius said, “I think we have a system right now that pays for contact and not for quality. So we pay for every doctor visit. We pay for every drug and device. We overpay for many pharmaceuticals. We've got too much waste and fraud. We overpay for medical equipment. What we need to do is change to a system where we focus on wellness, reward doctors for keeping people healthy. Stop paying for things that we know don't work very well. Stop paying for the number of contacts doctors make instead of what happens at the end of the day. Lower the kind of errors that occur when people go to the hospital. 100,000 people, Maria, in the United States each and every year die in the hospital. Not from what brought them into the hospital but accidents and mistakes that happen while they're there. Those are all things that we can deal with in a reformed health care system”.
So now, the big question is how do you pay for it? Policy analysts see no way that the Senate would pass legislation with the tax that the house has proposed. 5.4% tax on the highest earners. What are the alternatives?