Most public and private insurance plans pay for health care on a fee-for-service basis; individual doctors, hospitals and other providers are paid for each service they provide.
Many policy experts believe this approach is flawed and increasingly unaffordable, because it rewards providers for quantity of procedures rather than value of care.
But what form should a new payment system take?
Policy-makers are considering a number of models to reform the payment system, including accountable care organizations, patient-centered medical homes, comprehensive care payment and episode-based payment.
This Health Policy Snapshot, published online in January 2012, provides an overview of four prominent models under discussion.
Read more from RWJF's Health Policy Snapshot series.
U.S. health care system rewards providers for quantity not quality