With the President, members of Congress and key stakeholders seeking aggressive reforms to slow spending growth while improving value, a group of 10 health care policy experts today released a set of concrete, feasible steps that could achieve this goal. The plan, “Bending the Curve: Effective Steps to Address Long-Term Health Care Spending Growth,” focuses on reducing the growth of health care spending, while also improving quality.
The effort was convened by the Engelberg Center for Health Care Reform at Brookings, with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The diverse health care policy experts who joined together to develop the proposal include:
The proposal starts from the conclusion that the standard short-term measures to address rising costs— like reducing prices—are not sufficient to succeed. Instead, legislation must support necessary changes and improvements in health care by reforming payment systems, regulations and institutions that currently prevent patients from consistently getting the best quality care at the lowest cost.
“These steps are about accountability and support for what we really want—better care at a lower cost. This plan includes payment reforms, health insurance reforms, and a new focus on personal responsibility, as well as support through better information systems and other reforms to enable these steps to succeed,” said Mark McClellan, director of the Engelberg Center for Health Care Reform at Brookings. “This will not be easy, it will not happen overnight, and it will require commitment on all sides. But we believe that the reform strategy presented here offers the most promise for bending the cost curve and producing the high-value health care system our nation urgently needs, without jeopardizing the access to care that is so important to Americans.”
Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, M.D., M.B.A., President and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation said, “Along with achieving coverage for all Americans and improving the quality of health care, health reform must slow the growth of health care spending. The recommendations identified by these experts represent a feasible and responsible way of meeting this objective. Failing to take serious steps to bend the cost curve would undermine not only the sustainability of our health system, but also the credibility of health reform.”
To slow spending growth, health reform must include a comprehensive strategy to increase accountability and support for lowering costs while improving quality. The strategy consists of four interrelated pillars:
“From our diverse backgrounds and points of view, we reached consensus on a set of concrete, feasible steps that show promise for slowing spending growth, while improving quality,” the report’s authors wrote. “This is not meant to be an exhaustive list, nor does it necessarily reflect what we each would propose individually, but rather it is a comprehensive, coherent proposal building on current health reform bills.”