From NBC's Lauren Appelbaum
In a speech on health-care quality in New Hampshire, Clinton laid out her five-fold plan to Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center health care professionals: (1) support health care providers, (2) educate patients, (3) reimburse doctors by rewarding quality, (4) recruit and retain more nurses, which she called the "heart and soul of the health care system," and (5) address health disparities for both racial/ethnic reasons and preexisting conditions.
Using language Clinton has previously reserved for the Iraq war and the military, Clinton said America "plod[s] along with a 20th-Century health-care system unable to take full advantage of 21st-Century medical advances, stuck in the same rut of fatalistic thinking that has defined our health-care debate for more than a decade."
Unlike Edwards and Obama who have laid out their entire health care policies in one speech, Clinton's policy speech today is the second of three on the topic. Earlier this summer, Clinton talked about lowering costs in health care, and she promised a speech next month on her plan for universal healthcare. "My order here is deliberate," Clinton said. "In order to forge a consensus on universal health care, we need to assure people that they'll get the quality they expect at a price they can afford."
Throughout her speech, Clinton mentioned how the government would get involved, promising a public-private partnership for a quality trust by asking the Secretary of Health and Human Services to invest $125 million in the area.
She also promised federal support for continuing multi-occupations (MOC) education for physicians. "As president, I want to lend the support of the federal government to the MOC process to help doctors stay on the top of their game," Clinton said. "I will offer higher Medicare reimbursement rates to doctors who participate in qualified MOC programs."
While talking about proper reimbursement for doctors, Clinton offered some praise for President Bush for refusing Medicare payments for "never events" such as "preventable infections, injuries and errors sustained during hospital stays."
"It's not often that I offer praise for the Bush administration," Clinton said to laughter, "but it is well deserved for this decision."