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President Obama's plan to expand health coverage to the uninsured is likely to dig the nation deeper into debt unless policymakers adopt politically painful controls on spending, such as sharp reductions in payments to doctors, hospitals and other providers, congressional budget analysts said yesterday.
While popular measures such as increasing preventive care, expanding the use of electronic medical records and rewarding doctors for choosing more effective treatments have the potential to lower costs, "little reliable evidence exists about exactly how to implement those types of changes," Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas W. Elmendorf said in a letter to Senate budget leaders.
"Without meaningful reforms, the substantial costs of many current proposals . . . would be much more likely to worsen the long-run budget outlook than to improve it," he said.
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