Efficiency and Quality

The Center for American Progress released a new report that identifies reforms that have the greatest potential” for controlling health care costs. Efficiency and Quality: Controlling Cost Growth in Health Care Reform explains five specific reforms:

  • increasing the amount Medicare pays for primary care;
  • paying for episodes of care instead of individual procedures;
  • encouraging Medicaid and private insurers to adopt Medicare’s payment methods;
  • reforming the tax treatment of employer-based health benefits; and
  • expanding research that identifies best practices in treating diseases effectively and affordably.

According to the report, the current system results in government programs that pay too little for primary care and too much for specialty care, which the authors say leads poor quality and higher costs. The report also states that the current way in which health benefits are taxed results in consumers using too much health care and suggests guidelines to curb the over-use of new, expensive procedures that may not yet be proven to be most effective.