By Julian Pecquet - 05/12/11 07:10 PM EDT
Democrats' healthcare reform law and other recent steps will cut Medicare costs by $120 billion over five years while improving care for seniors, the Obama administration claims in a new report released Thursday.
The report from the Medicare agency comes as Republicans are pressing for large cuts to the nation's healthcare entitlements as part of negotiations on the debt ceiling. It points to provisions that aim to crack down on fraud and abuse, reward doctors and hospitals for quality of care and improve care for people with disabilities as key to future savings.
"At the same time we have helped improve Medicare's finances," White House Deputy Chief of Staff Nancy-Ann DeParle wrote on the White House blog, "we have also extended important new benefits to everyone on Medicare."
DeParle goes on to highlight further reforms that the president wants to tackle as part of deficit talks, including strengthening the Independent Payment Advisory Board that will recommend provider payment cuts and decreasing payments for prescription drugs. The administration says those steps could save another $200 billion over the next decade.