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Commentary

Speech at Commonwealth Club
Mike Leavitt, Secretary of Health and Human Services, 3-14-06

Leavitt delivered this speech at the Commonwealth Club earlier in the month. It is worth reading for an overview of the Administration's efforts to broaden public access to cost and quality data on health care services:

I am announcing today that for the first time, Medicare, Medicaid, the Department of Defense (VA and OPM/FEHBP), and the Office of Personnel Management will compile non-personalized claims information and release the information in sufficient detail that a statistically reliable foundation of transparent price and quality data will be available for each hospital and doctor. We will start with a few of the most common procedures and expand as quickly as possible.

This is a very important policy change because it begins to move us toward people knowing what they pay and knowing the quality of what they are receiving.

Leavitt recognizes that market-based forces should work out appropriate pricing signals for quality healthcare. Choice and competition will help to contain healthcare costs and raise the quality of services available to consumers.



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