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Approaches to Bending the Health Care Cost Curve

Monday, January 28, 2013

Health spending in the U.S. climbed to $2.7 trillion and constituted 17.9 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP) in 2011. A recent report released by actuaries at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) found that health spending as a share of GDP remained steady at 17.9 percent from 2009 through 2011. Despite that stability, some analysts warn that, as the economy improves and the population ages, cost increases could again accelerate. Effects of cost constraining provisions in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) are largely unknown, since major provisions will not be implemented until 2014. 

Are there changes to PPACA that could slow down health care spending growth? How can the public and private sectors collaborate to effectively address the problem? What role can market-based incentives and reforms play in a solution? Are there examples of provider payment or delivery innovation that could help? Should spending targets be established? If so, how? What are other approaches to stabilizing health care spending?

A distinguished panel of experts addressed these and related questions.

Stu Guterman, vice president and executive director of The Commonwealth Fund’s Commission on a High Performance Health System, will discuss the commission’s new report on confronting costs.

Karen Ignagni, president and chief executive officer of America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), will discuss costs from a health plan perspective.

Robert Galvin, chief executive officer of Equity Healthcare at the Blackstone Group, and former chief medical officer for General Electric, will provide a health purchaser perspective.

Ed Howard of the Alliance and David Blumenthal of Commonwealth will moderate the discussion.

This forum took place on Monday, January 28, and was sponsored by the nonpartisan Alliance for Health Reform and The Commonwealth Fund.

Contact: Marilyn Werber Serafini (202)789-2300


 Ed Howard, Alliance for Health Reform , Moderator
 David Blumenthal, The Commonwealth Fund, Moderator
 Stuart Gutterman, The Commonwealth Fund, Speaker
 Karen Ingagni, America’s Health Insurance Plans , Speaker
 Bob Galvin, Equity Healthcare , Speaker
 Q & A , The Alliance for Health Reform , Speaker
(Click on the camera icon to see a video of the speaker's presentation.)

Transcript, Event Summary and/or Webcast and Podcast

Transcript: Transcript (Adobe Acrobat PDF), 1/28/2013
Full Webcast/Podcast: Full Briefing

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

Speaker Presentations

Blumenthal Presentation (Adobe Acrobat PDF), 1/28/2013
Guterman Presentation (Adobe Acrobat PDF), 1/28/2013
Ignagni Presentation (Adobe Acrobat PDF), 1/28/2013
Galvin Presentation (Adobe Acrobat PDF), 1/28/2013

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

Source Materials

Agenda (Adobe Acrobat PDF), , 1/28/2013
Speaker Biographies (Adobe Acrobat PDF), , 1/28/2013
Selected Experts List (Adobe Acrobat PDF), , 1/28/2013
Materials List (Adobe Acrobat PDF), , 1/28/2013

Offsite Materials (briefing documents saved on other websites)

Bending the Cost Curve through Market-Based Incentives, The New England Journal of Medicine, 9/6/2012
Employers Tie Financial Rewards, Penalties to Health Tests, Lifestyle Choices, Kaiser Health News, 4/2/2012
Tackling Rising Health Care Costs in Massachusetts, The New England Journal of Medicine., 8/30/2012
Best Care at Lower Cost: The Path to Continuously Learning Health Care in America, Institute of Medicine, 9/6/2012
A Strong Foundation for Improving U.S. Health Care, The Commonwealth Fund Connection., 1/7/2013
Issue Brief: Cost Drivers in Health Care (Adobe Acrobat PDF),Alliance for Health Reform, 4/1/2012
Patients’ Share of Health Care Costs Is Actually Shrinking, Kaiser Health News, 1/14/2013
The $2.7 Trillion Question: Are Health-Care Costs Really Slowing?, The Washington Post, 1/7/2013
Shared Decision Making to Improve Care and Reduce Costs, The New England Journal of Medicine, 1/3/2013
National Health Expenditures 2011 Highlights, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, 1/9/2013
The Promise of Consumer-Directed Health Plans: Studies Show Success at Reducing Costs and Maintaining Quality, The Heritage Foundation’s Center for Policy Innovation, 7/9/2012
Reducing Waste in Health Care, Health Affairs Health Policy Brief, 12/13/2012
Confronting Costs: Stabilizing U.S. Health Spending While Moving Toward a High Performance Health Care System, The Commonwealth Fund, 1/10/2013
Curbing Costs, Improving Care: The Path to an Affordable Health Care Future (Adobe Acrobat PDF),National Coalition on Health Care., 11/8/2012
What’s Working to Control Costs, The Commonwealth Fund Blog, 6/11/2012
Achieving Medicare and Medicaid Savings: Cutting Eligibility and Benefits, Trimming Payments, or Ensuring the Right Care?, The Commonwealth Fund Blog, 7/13/2011
How the Federal Government Can Save $100 Billion or More in Health-Care Costs: Alternatives to Blunt, Misguided Policies That Merely Shift Costs, Center for American Progress., 10/1/2011
National Health Spending in 2011: Overall Growth Remains Low, but Some Payers and Services Show Signs of Acceleration, Health Affairs, 1/7/2013
Many Large Medical Groups Will Need to Acquire New Skills and Tools to Be Ready for Payment Reform, Health Affairs, 9/7/2012
Reducing Medicare costs without reducing benefits or beneficiaries, The Kansas City Star, 1/23/2013
State Trends in Premiums and Deductibles, 2003-2011: Eroding Protection and Rising Costs Underscore Need for Action, The Commonwealth Fund, 12/1/2012
What is Driving Growth in Government Spending?, The New York Times FiveThirtyEight: Nate Silver’s Political Calculus, 1/16/2013
What is Driving U.S. Health Care Spending? America’s Unsustainable Health Care Cost Growth, Bipartisan Policy Center, 9/20/2012



A Commonwealth Fund report includes recommendations for reforming physician payment and accelerating meaningful use of health information technology to reduce costs in health care, The Fund's Stuart Guterman said at a Jan. 28 briefing, Stabilizing U.S. Health Spending: Approaches to Bending the Cost Curve. He said there is a chance to build on the current momentum in the public and private sectors, through bottom-up innovation, collaboration in the health care system and insurance exchanges. (Photo by James Ryder)

Physicians, nurses and other health care workers must "work to the top of their license" as one way to reduce health care costs, Karen Ignagni of America's Health Insurance Plans said at a Jan. 28 Alliance briefing, Stabilizing U.S. Health Spending: Approaches to Bending the Cost Curve. (Photo by James Ryder) 

The consolidation created by better coordinated care can result in improved health outcomes and lower costs, but it can also have the unintended consequence of raising prices and not improving outcomes, Robert Galvin of Equity Healthcare and The Blackstone Group said at a Jan. 28 Alliance briefing, Stabilizing U.S. Health Spending: Approaches to Bending the Cost Curve. (Photo by James Ryder)


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