The Obama administration's recently announced initiatives to boost the quality of medical care available to approximately 90 million Americans on Medicaid and Medicare. Tuesday's announcement is being described by experts as the furthest-reaching benefits of the new US healthcare legislation.
The $10 billion campaign is aimed at reducing hospital-acquired infections and ensuring seniors take the medication, among other things. This announcement has been met with far less debate than the discussion about the law's repeal. In fact, the quality-improvement effort is receiving support from corporate leaders, consumer groups, healthcare experts and doctors across the political spectrum.
Government officials are also planning to work much more closely with the private sector, in order to ensure the quick improvement of patient care systems. The process will kick off with a new Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMS), which will help physician practices in eight states to coordinate primary-care doctors better. This is based on growing evidence that patients are hospitalised less frequently, suffer fewer complications and recover more quickly if doctors work more closely together.
Although there is some skepticism, notably from the US Chamber of Commerce, most believe that it is a significant step forward. "I think everyone's really interested in getting better efficiency in the system", said Washington Research Group health policy analyst Amy Thornton.