As the health reform debate heats up in summertime Washington, discussions center around how to make our current system more efficient, provide better value for the dollars spent, and extend coverage to those without it. The Senate Finance Committee options papers and the House tri-committee report devote whole sections to proposals to reduce health care costs. These proposals consider ways to find savings from working more efficiently, and slowing the growth curve — savings that could help pay the substantial cost of comprehensive health reform.
A full discussion of the issues looks at both federal spending and at national expenditures on health. How can the private sector contribute to a slowing of national health care expenditures? Are there examples of models that have been implemented in the marketplace and demonstrated they can save money? If incorporated into reform, how much of an impact would they have on the federal budget? What are the constraints that prevent the Congressional Budget Office from scoring such savings? What about the impact on total national health expenditures? What are the respective roles of providers, consumers and legislators in changing the way we do business in health care?
To address these and related questions, the Alliance for Health Reform and the United Health Foundation sponsored a July 13 briefing. Panelists were Len Nichols, director of the Health Policy Program at the New America Foundation; Simon Stevens, executive vice president of the UnitedHealth Group and chairman of the UnitedHealth Center for Health Reform & Modernization; Gail Wilensky, senior fellow at Project HOPE; and Janet Marchibroda, chief healthcare officer at IBM. Ed Howard of the Alliance moderated.
Full Transcript (Adobe Acrobat PDF)