Better Ways to Pay for Health Care

A Primer on Healthcare Payment Reform

This primer by Network for Regional Healthcare Improvement (NRHI) provides an easy-to-understand explanation of the problems with current health care payment systems and describes alternative payment systems that will address these problems. The primer not only demonstrates how the way we pay for health care today drives up costs and penalizes higher quality care, but also explains alternatives that can solve the problems without placing the kinds of restrictions on doctors and patients that doomed many managed care initiatives a decade ago.

The information in the guidebook was originally prepared for NRHI’s 2008 national Summit on Healthcare Payment Reform. At that summit, more than 100 health care leaders from across the country developed recommendations on how to implement the improved payment systems described in the report.

This primer is the second in a series of reports from NRHI examining ways to reform payment systems in order to improve quality and reduce costs in the health care system, supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.