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                       Office of the Press Secretary
                          (Aboard Air Force One)

For Immediate Release August 11, 2000


Every day, tens of thousands of health claims are submitted to insurers and other payers by our nation's health care providers. These billing forms are often incomprehensible, inconsistent, and duplicative, frequently serving little useful purpose. They waste the time and financial resources of our talented health care professionals, and can result in higher premiums and lower quality of care.

With today's release of new national standards for electronic claims for health care transactions, we are taking a major step towards eliminating burdensome, time-consuming and wasteful paperwork that costs the nation's health care system billions of dollars each year. In fact, the Department of Health and Human Services estimates that these administrative simplification regulations will achieve a net savings to the health care system of nearly $30 billion over the next 10 years.

As we use our new technology to streamline our health care system, we will maintain our absolute commitment to protect the sanctity and privacy of medical records. The standards we are releasing today will be required to be implemented consistent with the privacy regulation that we will be finalizing later this year.

Today's action is a win for patients and health care providers alike. When we save money from the health care system, we succeed in keeping premiums down. When we reduce paperwork requirements on our physicians, they have more time to spend with their patients. Improving quality, eliminating wasteful spending, and maintaining our values should be the goals we strive to achieve in health care and every public policy we pursue. I believe that we are achieving all three goals with the release of today's new standard.