Health Care Roundtable: Public Option Hot Button Issue in Debate

"I think people are thinking that this is brand new money that's being printed," said President Obama's domestic policy adviser Melody Barnes. "There's already $2 trillion worth of health care that's being spent already. This is redirecting that money so it's more efficiently and effectively used and so people are getting better quality health care."

Cantor and other House Republicans unveiled their own version of a health care bill last week, which they say will make quality health care more affordable and accessible, ensure that medical decisions are made by doctors and improve lives through effective prevention. But they did not give an estimate of cost or the specifics of what the plan would entail.

"What the Republican plan will do is, it will look more toward the individual and will say, if you have a plan, your insurer and you are going to determine the length of that coverage," Cantor said on "GMA." "But also if somehow you lose your job and that's how you get your coverage, we're going to make sure that you have the flexibility under that plan to take that coverage with you."

Health Care Debate on Preventive Measures

Officials say one way to cut health care industry costs in the long run is to put procedures in the plan that would reduce unnecessary tests that doctors conduct.

"Right now, we pay doctors based on how many times they touch a patient, how many tests are given, how many procedures are run. Not how well the patient is at the end of the day," Sebelius said.

Officials cite reports such as those in a recent Dartmouth University study that found that up to 30 percent of medical spending -- $700 billion a year -- does nothing to improve health.

But who will decide what tests are necessary?

"Clinicians will make those decisions," said Nancy-Ann DeParle, director of White House Office of Health Reform. "What we're trying to do and the president is trying to get is a system where we can have lower costs for all families and businesses."

"No one's going to tell your doctor that he or she can't do a procedure, but there will be a set of protocols that we know at the end of the day actually produce a better result for you and are less intrusive," Sebelius said. "Do what works best for me, and that's really what we're talking about. Not cheaper medicine, better medicine each and every time."

Doctors say they need more protection against medical malpractice lawsuits if they are to cut the number of tests they prescribe.

But in a speech to the American Medical Association last week, Obama was noncommittal on that end, saying only that his administration wants to work with doctors to cut back "excessive defensive medicine.

"I recognize that it will be hard to make some of these changes if doctors feel like they're constantly looking over their shoulders for fear of lawsuits. ... I understand some doctors may feel the need to order more tests and treatments to avoid being legally vulnerable. That's a real issue," Obama said. "I'm not advocating caps on malpractice awards, which I personally believe can be unfair to people who've been wrongfully harmed."

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