- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 25, 2015

President Obama on Wednesday will mark his signature health law’s fifth-anniversary week by launching a doctor-patient network tasked with finding ways to put the quality — and not quantity — of care first, all while reducing costs.

Mr. Obama, alongside Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell, is slated to extol the Affordable Care Act’s progress so far while tasking the Health Care Payment Learning and Action Network with doing more.

The White House says its patient-care reforms averted 150,000 re-admissions in 2012-2013 and prevented 50,000 patients deaths while saving about $12 billion in 2010-2013.

The administration also wants to tie 30 percent of Medicare payments to the quality of care by 2016 and 50 percent by 2018, mainly through models such as Accountable Care Organizations, which see financial bonuses or penalties based on their performance.

While the administration marches on, lawmakers on Capitol Hill will debate budget plans that call for Obamacare’s repeal.

Republican-led budget resolutions in both chambers would scrap the 2010 law entirely, although they appear to retain its tax revenue.

GOP leaders say the overhaul’s mandates and taxes are onerous for individuals and businesses, while its coverage requirements have forced people off plans they liked. Others have faced rising premiums or lost their doctors, they say.

With budget resolutions in hand, Republicans may use an arcane budget procedure known as “reconciliation” to pass new legislation that repeals Obamacare on a majority vote, bypassing a Democratic filibuster in the Senate and forcing Mr. Obama to veto their will.

Congressional Democrats say repeal would be devastating for 16 million-and-counting Americans who’ve gained coverage because of the law.

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