KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Cleveland And Mayo Clinic CEOs Raise Concerns About Congressional Reform Proposals

The chief executives of the Cleveland Clinic and Mayo Clinic, both held up as models for health reform, voiced concerns about the health care proposals moving forward in Congress.

Delos "Toby" Cosgrove, chief executive and president of the Cleveland Clinic, said that the current reform measures under consideration will not successfully curb escalating health care costs, CBS News reports. At a conference in Washington, D.C., Cosgrove explained that insurance and payment reform are not enough. "It is essential, he said to also implement changes to the delivery of care, as well as to decrease the burden of disease in the United States."

"The number of elderly people in the U.S. is increasing, while the number of sophisticated treatments available increases as well -- both bringing costs up. 'Add to that the situation where we maybe bring another 40 million people under coverage, you're going to see a continuing escalation of health care we're not going to be able to sustain at the present time,' Cosgrove said. 'We've got to figure out a way to do it more efficiently -- that's going to require doctors to be integrated with hospitals, and hospitals to be integrated with hospitals'" (Condon, 10/1).

Denis A. Cortese, chief executive of the Mayo Clinic, "says he is disgusted with the current machinations in Washington over how to overhaul the nation's health care system," The New York Times reports. "Dr. Cortese, who has shared his views with White House officials and some Congressional Democrats, argues that Congress has become too enmeshed in the details - discussing what the benefit package in a health plan should look like, for example. Instead, he says, Congress should try to draft legislation charting an overall direction toward better medical care for the nation, then leave implementation to, say, the Department of Health and Human Services."

"Because Dr. Cortese contends that Medicare has had such a poor track record, he has not been shy in opposing a government-run health care plan, or public option, which many liberal Democrats favor. Instead, he would urge Congress to create a national package of health insurance options modeled after the Federal Employees Health Benefits plan" (Abelson, 10/1).

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