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Berwick is currently working on a major regulation that would allow hospitals and groups of doctors to band together to provide coordinated health care for Medicare patients. Incorporated in the health care law, so-called “accountable care organizations” would try to save taxpayers’ money while improving patients’ lives by trying to avoid unnecessary hospitalizations.

Those changes “will save billions in excess costs and save millions of lives,” said White House spokesman Cherlin.

The only Republican senators who did not sign on to Hatch’s letter are Scott Brown of Massachusetts, Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and Rob Portman of Ohio.