Sign Up for Email Alerts Visit us on Twitter Visit us on Facebook Visit us on YouTube Subscribe to RSS Feeds

Home > Past Briefings > Briefing Detail Page

Briefing Detail Page

Change Text Size:   Smaller Text Size   Larger Text Size   Default Text Size    

Health Care Costs: What Can Be Done?

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Though there is still disagreement about the extent to which various cost drivers contribute to the troubling trajectory of health care spending in the United States, there are success stories. This briefing took a look at some of the innovative strategies in both the public and private sectors that have bent the cost curve downwards and some that may hold promise for lowering the rate of growth of national health care spending. The briefing also featured Dr. Paul Ginsburg presenting a paper that was commissioned especially for this series. The paper examines a range of policy strategies that might promote changes in health financing and delivery that would encourage higher quality and more efficient care delivery.

This event was held on Tuesday, June 12 in the Kaiser Family Foundation’s Barbara Jordan Conference Center in Washington.


Susan Dentzer, Health Affairs, Moderator
Karen Davis, The Commonwealth Fund, Speaker
Scott Serota, Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, Speaker
Stuart Butler, Heritage Foundation, Speaker
Jim Guest, Consumer Reports, Speaker
Anne Weiss, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Speaker
Gerry Shea, AFL-CIO, Speaker
David Pryor, Ascension Health, Speaker
Marilyn Tavenner, Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services , Speaker

Transcript, Event Summary and/or Webcast and Podcast

Transcript: Transcript (Adobe Acrobat PDF), 6/12/2012
Full Webcast/Podcast: Health Care Costs: What Can Be Done?

The full webcast and podcast for this briefing, as well as videos of individual speakers' presentations, are provided by Kaiser Family Foundation.

Speaker Presentations

Karen Davis' Presentation (PowerPoint), 6/12/2012
Scott Serota's Presentation (PowerPoint), 6/12/2012
Paul Ginsburg's Presentation (PowerPoint), 6/12/2012
Agenda (Adobe Acrobat PDF), 6/12/2012

(If you want to download one or more slides from these presentations, contact us at info@allhealth or click here for instructions.)

Source Materials

Materials List (Adobe Acrobat PDF), , 6/12/2012
Why Not Big Ideas and Big Interventions? (Adobe Acrobat PDF), , 6/12/2012

Offsite Materials (briefing documents saved on other websites)

Aligning Forces for Quality: Improving Health & Health Care in Communities Across America. (Adobe Acrobat PDF),Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, 8/1/2010
Aspirin, Angioplasty, and Proton Beam Therapy: The Economics of Smarter Health Care Spending (Adobe Acrobat PDF),Jackson Hole Economic Policy Symposium, 9/9/2011
- Baicker, Katherine and Amitabh Chandra
Performance Improvement in Health Care – Seizing the Moment, New England Journal of Medicine, 4/26/2012
- Blumenthal, David
Medicare Variation Revisited: Is Something Wrong with McAllen, Texas, or Is Something Wrong with Medicare? (Adobe Acrobat PDF),The Heritage Foundation: WebMemo, 1/4/2011
- Book, Robert
Comprehensive Primary Care Initiative, CMS Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation, 6/6/2012
Cost Drivers in Health Care (Adobe Acrobat PDF),Health Policy Alternatives and Alliance for Health Reform, 4/1/2012
Counting Change: Measuring Prices, Costs, and Spending, Robert Wood Johsnons Foundation, 3/1/2012
Data Brief: U.S. Healthcare Spending: The Big Picture (Adobe Acrobat PDF),National Institute for Health Care Management, 5/1/2012
Illustrating Innovation Through Bright Spots, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, 5/1/2012
It’s Not the Economy, Stupid!, American Enterprise Institute: The Health Care Blog, 3/9/2012
- Kleinke, J.D
Knotty Challenges in Health Care Costs, New York Times, 3/5/2012
- Kolata, Gina
ACOs at Mid-Launch: Moving Forward But Challenges Ahead (Adobe Acrobat PDF),National Institute for Health Care Management: Expert Voices, 5/1/2012
- Lieberman, Steven
A New Cost Control Idea – Paying for Outcomes (Guest Opinion), Kaiser Health News. May 9, 2011, 5/9/2011
- McDonough, John
Improving Health Care Value Through Increased Access to Palliative Care (Adobe Acrobat PDF),National Institute for Health Care Management, 4/1/2012
- Meier, Diane
From Volume to Value: Better Ways to Pay for Health Care (Adobe Acrobat PDF),Health Affairs, 9/1/2009
- Miller, Harold
What We Talk about When We Talk about Health Care Costs, New England Journal of Medicine, 2/16/2012
- Neumann, Peter
Throwing Darts: Americans’ Elusive Search for Health Care Cost Control, Journal of Health Politics, Policy, and Law, 6/1/2011
- Oberlander, Jonathan
How Health Care Can Save or Sink America., Foreign Affairs, 7/1/2011
- Orszag, Peter
Preventive Services Without Cost Sharing (Adobe Acrobat PDF),Health Affairs, 12/28/2010
Divide Et Impera: Protecting the Growth of Health Care Incomes (Costs). (Adobe Acrobat PDF),Health Economics, 1/1/2012
- Reinhardt, Uwe
Tiered Provider Networks as a Strategy to Improve Health Care Quality and Efficiency (Adobe Acrobat PDF),National Institute for Health Care Management, 2/1/2012
- Sinaiko, Anna
That CT scan costs how much?, Consumer Reports, 7/1/2012
The Performance Imperative: Utilizing a Coordinated, Community-Based Approach to Enhance Care and Lower Costs for Chronically Ill Patients., The Commonwealth Fund, 4/1/2012
The Role of Prevention in Bending the Cost Curve. (Adobe Acrobat PDF),Urban Insititute: Health Policy Center, 10/1/2011
- Waidmann, Timothy, Barbara A. Ormond, and Randall R. Bovbjerg


Marilyn Tavenner, acting CMS administrator, discussed CMS efforts to promote good health and good care, and to lower costs, at the June 12 briefing sponsored by the Alliance and nine cosponsors. For the complete webcast of the briefing, click here.

Karen Davis, president of The Commonwealth Fund, offered case studies from the public and private sectors in how to control health care costs at the June 12 briefing sponsored by the Alliance and nine cosponsors. For the complete webcast, click here.

Scott Serota, president and CEO of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, explained what's working for association plans to bring costs under control, at the June 12 briefing sponsored by the Alliance and nine cosponsors. For the complete webcast, click here.

Paul Ginsburg, president of the Center for Studying Health System Change, offered several policy solutions to bring down the growth of health care spending at the June 12 briefing sponsored by the Alliance and nine cosponsors. For the complete webcast, click here.


Briefing for Reporters on State Health Initiatives

A governor met with reporters Friday, February 19 to discuss the latest health care innovations and changes they are pursuing or implementing. Gov. Asa Hutchinson, R-Ark., discussed his experience with the state's program to move newly eligible Medicaid beneficiaries to qualified health plans, and his intentions for changes moving forward.

Read More

Health Care Consolidation: What You Need to Know

A recent whirlwind of mergers and acquisitions has thrown health care industry consolidation into the spotlight. In 2014 alone, there were 1,299 mergers and acquisitions in the health care sector at a value of $387 billion, a new record. In this roundtable for reporters, featuring a top FTC official and two experts, panelists discussed the drivers behind this recent trend; the scope and extent of consolidation among doctors, hospitals and insurers; implications for consumers and other stakeholders; and the roles of the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

Click here for video
Click here for transcript

Read More 

New Toolkit on Health Care Consolidation

There were 1,299 mergers and acquisitions in the health care sector in 2014 at a value of $387 billion, both record highs. A new Alliance for Health Reform toolkit, “Health Care Consolidation,” looks at the drivers behind this trend, as well as implications for key players in the health care system and regulatory issues surrounding the issue.  Critics argue that consolidation could have a harmful impact on consumers, including higher costs, while others say some amount of activity is necessary to reshape the health care industry following changes implemented by the Affordable Care Act.

Read More 

What Tools do Patients Need? Video

What is the key to creating a more consumer-friendly and patient-centered health care system? Leading experts address challenges and potential solutions in a new Alliance video featuring Benjamin Moulton of the Informed Medical Decisions Foundation, Robin Gelburd of FAIR Health, and Tim Skeen Anthem.

Click here for video.

Read More 

Video from Reporter Roundtable on Open Enrollment III

On October 5, speakers at a reporter roundtable held at the National Press Club on open enrollment III provided the latest information about premium trends and drivers, health plan availability and new comparison tools for consumers to use in choosing health plans. They discussed trends in the role of navigators and brokers, and increasing consumer expectations, particularly around the ease of the process.

Click here for video.

Read More 

Toolkit on Connection Between Health and Housing

A new Alliance toolkit, “The Connection between Health and Housing: The Evidence and Policy Landscape,” provides a detailed look into federal, state and local initiatives, as well as cost implications for health and housing programs.

Attempts to tie health and housing policy are gaining momentum, amid evidence that housing, a social determinant of health, is an important factor in the health status of various populations. More than 610,000 people experience homelessness in the U.S., and over 250,000 individuals within that population have a severe mental illness or a chronic substance use disorder, according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Read More 

Toolkit on Biosimilars

The Alliance for Health Reform has released a new toolkit, “Biosimilars: Unpacking Complex Issues.”

The Affordable Care Act created an expedited licensure pathway for biosimilars, and, in March 2015, the U.S. approved the first biosimilar, leaving policy makers, regulators, providers and stakeholders to grapple with regulatory and financial questions.

Biosimilars are similar – but not identical – to biologic drugs, and cost less. Unlike traditional pharmaceuticals, biologic drugs are derived from living organisms and tissues, making them more complex and expensive to produce.

Read More 

Experts Discuss Workplace Wellness Programs

In a new interview video, Karen Pollitz, senior fellow, private insurance and health reforms, The Kaiser Family Foundation and Dan Newton, vice president, product/solutions development and behavior economics, Anthem Care Management discuss the impact of workplace wellness programs. They address questions about regulations and program design and analyze the scope of wellness programs.

Read More 

Toolkit on Long-Term Services and Supports (LTSS)

The aging of the baby boomers and the increase in the number of old-old persons (those 85 and older) are predictors for the increasing need for long-term services and supports (LTSS). Among persons age 65 and over, an estimated 70 percent will use LTSS. A new Alliance for Health Reform toolkit, “Long-Term Services and Supports: Changes and Challenges in Financing and Delivery,” provides a background on LTSS and discusses policy issues surrounding the topic.

Read More 

Copyright 1997-2016 Alliance for Health Reform
1444 Eye Street, NW, Suite 910 Washington, DC 20005-6573      202-789-2300      202-789-2233 fax      Sitemap