What Can States Do to Contain Health Care Costs?

Supporting the State Health Care Cost Containment Commission in producing its report on state strategies to contain health care costs
    • February 28, 2015

Dates of Project: November 11, 2012 to May 14, 2014

Description: The project team from the University of Virginia’s Miller Center assembled the 12-member State Health Care Cost Containment Commission in early 2013. It is co-chaired by Mike Leavitt, former governor of Utah and Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and Bill Ritter Jr., JD, former governor of Colorado.

The commission met three times over the 18-month grant period and held numerous conference calls to discuss various drafts of the report. The report was released in January 2014.

Key Recommendations

The report contains seven recommendations for states with action steps for each.

  1. Create an “alliance of stakeholders” to improve the quality and cost efficiency of the health care system. The stakeholders should include representatives from state health care and insurance agencies, insurers, providers, large employers, and consumers groups. The governor should chair the commission.
  2. Collect data on cost, quality, delivery-system infrastructure, and population health to create a profile of the state’s health care industry.
  3. Establish statewide baselines and goals for health care spending, quality improvement, and population health and publicly report on the results.
  4. Use existing health care programs—such as Medicaid or private insurance sold through government-run electronic exchanges—to accelerate the trend toward coordinated, risk-based care.
  5. Encourage consumers to choose high-value care based on publicly reported cost and quality data and promote competition among providers through antitrust laws.
  6. Reform health care regulations—such as those governing health insurance and medical malpractice—to promote efficiency in the health care system.
  7. Promote improvements in the health of the state’s population through investments in public health initiatives and also encourage individuals to be responsible for their decisions on lifestyle and health care, including end-of-life planning.

The report also includes seven recommendations for federal action.

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Commission headed by 2 former govs lays out steps for states to contain health care costs/improve quality.