By Cynthia Dizikes,
Mon, Mar 23 2009

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- In comments from the Senate floor today, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., denounced the current Medicare system, saying that it is “in dire need of reform.”

The system favors states that spend more dollars on health care, regardless of quality of care, according to Klobuchar.

That puts states with relatively low health care costs, like Minnesota, at a disadvantage when it comes to Medicare funding.

“The problem with Medicare is that it pays for quantity not quality,” said Klobuchar.

Klobuchar announced three priorities that she said she would start working on immediately: enhancing Medicare incentives that reward quality care, including following recommended protocols; changing the Medicare payment system to include bundling of services; and addressing the shortage in the number of primary care physicians.

Even as the economy has swung public attention away from health care reform, it has remained high on the Obama administration’s priority list.

The Wall Street Journal last week reported that Congressional Democrats and the White House were likely to use a parliamentary procedure to win passage this year of a national health-insurance program.