'Disease Care' Industry Likes Obama's Approach to Health Reform

The Washington Post's Dan Eggen and Ceci Connolly report that the health care industry is breathing a sigh of relief as a result of Barack Obama's early signals on reform:


Just four months ago, the pharmaceutical industry was prepared for the worst. Drugmakers feared that Barack Obama would press for price controls on prescription drugs and readied plans for a multimillion-dollar ad campaign against the idea.

Instead, Obama chose a more modest approach after becoming president, proposing to extract bigger discounts on medications bought through Medicaid. The plan could save the drug companies billions a year compared with price controls.

"This is a great start," said W.J. "Billy" Tauzin, a former House member from Louisiana who now runs the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), referring to Obama's health-care plan. "There are things we don't like about it. But there's time to discuss all that."

Obama's opening gambit to dramatically expand the health-care system has attracted surprising notes of support from insurers, hospitals and other players in the powerful medical lobby who are set to participate in an unusual White House summit on the issue this afternoon. The lure for the industry is the prospect of tens of millions of new customers: If Obama succeeds in fulfilling his pledge to cover many more Americans, those newly insured people will get checkups, purchase medicine, undergo physical therapy and get surgeries they cannot afford today.

Read the complete article here.

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