Pelosi speaks about latest health care obstacles

January 8, 2010 10:39:07 PM PST
Nancy Pelosi was back in San Francisco talking about the president's model for health care reform and it's in trouble. The mayo Clinic says it will no longer accept Medicare patients at its clinic in Arizona because they're losing too much money.

This announcement by the Mayo Clinic is very significant because the president and its advisors have been telling us that the Mayo Clinic is the shining example of better and cheaper. But the Mayo Clinic said it's costing them hundreds of millions.

In September, President Obama told a health care rally in Minneapolis the Mayo Clinic is the model.

"Look at what the Mayo Clinic is able to do. It's got the best quality and the lowest cost of just about any system in the country. So what we want to do is we want to help the whole country learn from what Mayo is doing," the president said in September.

But this week, the Mayo Clinic announced it lost $840 million last year because Medicaid reimbursements didn't cover costs. At the Mayo Clinic in Arizona, Medicaid patients will have to start paying cash if they wanted to be treated.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi says she knows it's an issue

"That's one of the main initiatives in our bill; is to address the disparity in reimbursement in the country. The Mayo Clinic a major organization, we salute their work and they're right to point out the disparity in reimbursement," she said.

Without going into how, Speaker Pelosi says the health care bill will correct the disparity problem. She also said Governor Schwarzenegger didn't really mean it when he said the health care legislation will be bad for California.

In his state of the state address this week, Schwarzenegger said the reimbursement problems would overburden the state's budget.

"It would be short sighted not to pass the bill because one piece of the bill which we will correct," Pelosi said.

The CEO of California Blue Shield, Bruce Bodaken, said the legislation in congress is just the first step.

"This bill may not do everything we want it to, but it's the bill we have to deal with," he said.

Doctors and hospitals have long complained about Medicare reimbursements. Negotiations between the Speaker and Harry Reid on the Senate side are taking place behind closed doors, and she's not talking specifics in public.