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UnitedHealth: Modernizing Medicare could save billions

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UnitedHealth Group Inc. says the U.S. government could save $542 billion in federal Medicare and Medicaid spending over the next 10 years by modernizing health care and improving patient outcomes, according to a company news release.

A new report from the Minnetonka-based health insurer outlines a performance-based compensation model rather than today’s fee-for-service program.

"If we don't manage to generate improved quality and savings from this kind of approach, then it will ... fall back to either benefit cuts or more constraints on doctors' and hospitals' payments from Medicare and Medicaid, which in time will make it harder to find providers who will care for them," Simon Stevens, chairman of the UnitedHealth Center for Health Reform & Modernization, told the Star Tribune.

In December, UnitedHealth issued a similar report that claimed Americans could save as much as $1 trillion in a decade by changing the way doctors are paid, but a poll found only one-third of doctors supported the change.

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