Speaking today before attendees at the American Medical Association's annual meeting, President Obama called the current state of the nation's health care system a "ticking time bomb," saying, "If we don't fix health care, America may go the way of GM: Paying more, getting less and going broke."
Reminding the physicians in attendance that to most Americans -- including the first family -- "you are the health care system; we just do what you tell us to do," Obama stressed that no reform effort could be successful without the buy-in of the nation's doctors.
To that end, he told them that they needed to embrace health IT, specifically providing patients with electronic health records. Quoting Newt Gingrich, something Obama acknowledged, "I don't do very often," the president noted that technology is better used to track FedEx packages than patient records.
Obama also encouraged doctors to help promote preventive care, citing that just a fraction of every health care dollar is spent on prevention and highlighting the preventive wellness program implemented by Safeway as a successful one for employers to emulate.
However, the president didn't give the docs everything they wanted to hear. He told them that he's not in favor of capping malpractice lawsuit awards and reiterated his support for a public health plan option, saying "Reforms need to happen whether there is a public plan or not," and that such an option "is not your enemy, but your friend."
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