Obama Seeks to Expand Control Over Medicare

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Posted: Jul 17, 2009 12:24 PM
In another attempt to expand control over the nation's health system, the Obama White House today asked Congress to give the Executive Branch "more power to limit Medicare's rising costs."

In a letter addressed to top lawmakers, the White House explained that the move would be "a critical step forward" in helping to control health care costs and expand care.

The proposal would allow an independent advisory board to recommend changes in Medicare reimbursement rates for doctors, hospitals and other providers. If President Obama approved the recommendations, Congress could still vote to reject them altogether. However, Congress could not approve some recommendations and reject others.

Currently, Medicare reimbursement rates vary from region to region. Lawmakers are thus often involved in setting local rates--a practice the Obama plan would end.