Obama: Economic recovery includes healthcare reform

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Deficit-reduction plan to gain $600 billion from lower provider payments and higher beneficiary prem
Deficit-reduction plan to gain $600 billion from lower provider payments and higher beneficiary prem
Healthcare reform is part of getting the country back on track economically, President-elect Barack Obama said.

Melody Barnes, the newly named director of the White House Domestic Policy Counsel, will work closely with presumed Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services Tom Daschle to make healthcare reform an integral part of economic recovery, Obama said at a press conference on Monday. Barnes was senior domestic policy adviser to the Obama campaign, and has served as chief counsel to Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA), who himself has a long track record of healthcare legislation.

Meanwhile, Obama and aides have said they plan to pass a stimulus package when he takes office. Also this week, an aide to Senate Democrats told a panel convened by the journal Health Affairs that an Obama Administration would seek to cut as much as $15 billion per year in overpayments to Medicare Advantage Plans, with an eye toward using that money in other ways, including possibly healthcare reform.