Sen Obama Will Improve Health Care Quality, Affordability by Increasing Information Available to Consumers

MANCHESTER , NH U.S.Senator Barack Obama said today that as President, he will improve the quality and affordability of healthcare by making more information available to consumers about hospital performance and complicated prescription drug plans. Obama’s plan , which can beviewed in full HERE, is similar to his successful efforts in the Illinois state Senate to pass the Hospital Report Cards Act, a law that requires hospitals to make public facts and figures about the quality of care they’re providing.

“Today, seniors are flooded with material about lots of different plans, but they get little guidance about which is actually best for them,” Obama said. “As a result, many people are paying a lot more than they should be. When I’m President, we’ll make sure seniors are provided with information about what prescription drug plan is best for them. And we’ll also require companies to make information about these plans available online so seniors can do some comparative shopping and find the best price.”

Obama said American health care consumers are not armed with the cost and quality information they need to make good decisions about their care. A recent study in Wisconsin found that seniors are spending on average about $500 more than they should be. In another survey of 2,000 Americans, 63 percent of respondents who had received treatment for a serious health issue or had a close family member receive treatment did not know the cost until after treatment was received. Participants were able to predict the price of a Honda Accord within $300 on average, but were off by $8,100 on a four-day hospital stay.

“I think it should be public knowledge if a hospital’s making lots of preventable mistakes, or if there are only a few nurses for every patient, or if patients are getting lots of infections while they’re in the hospital,” Obama said. “People should be able to know which hospitals are doing a good job and which aren’t. And when I’m President, they will.”

Obama also discussed his detailed universal health care plan, which will cover every American and cut the cost of a typical family’s premiums by up to $2,500 per year.