Addressing Rising Health Care Costs

A Guide for Consumer Advocates

On November 11 and 12, Consumers Union and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation convened a working meeting for consumer advocates on the topic, “Addressing Rising Health Care Costs.”

The Resource Guide is intended to provide a road map to some of the key concepts and research findings that may help advocates work on this important policy issue. This Guide is not meant to be exhaustive but is designed to serve as a starting point and a means of facilitating the conversation around health care costs.

The focus of this document is identifying the major factors contributing to systemic increases in health care costs. While critically important, the Guide does not confine itself to the more narrowly defined issue of Medicare or Medicaid budgets. Also important but not included is a discussion of the social determinants of population health and public health strategies.

This Guide is primarily trying to make sense of what the evidence says. The accumulated evidence on health care cost drivers and strategies is massive yet, at the same time, incomplete. This Guide is meant to be a solid beginning point, but by no means an end point for exploring this topic.

Related Resources


Addressing Rising Health Care Costs: Workshop Summary

This is a summary of a 2013 meeting of approximately 60 consumer advocates with the goal of bridging the gap between researchers, policy-makers and consumers and to examine what drives costs upwards.

Read the summary
Participants sit around a table during a meeting.

Private Sector Approaches to Health Care Cost Containment

Growth in health spending has outpaced overall income growth for decades, placing an enormous burden on society and undermining wage gains. This paper examines private purchaser approaches to health care cost control.

Read the brief

State-Based Approaches to Health Care Value

This paper examines the strategies that seven states have used to improve value—some ideas are new, while other concepts have been in place for years.

Read the brief

Learn More About

Cost Report April 2013
Health Care Costs