Sept. 9, 2009
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Is Health Spending Excessive? If So, What Can We Do About It? by Henry J. Aaron of the Brookings Institution and Paul B. Ginsburg of HSC
The authors conclude that the evidence that U.S. health care spending is excessive is overwhelming. To lower health spending growth without lowering net "welfare"-the well-being that people derive from consuming goods and services-the authors maintain that the health care system must:
Medicare Governance and Provider Payment Policy, by Hoangmai H. Pham of HSC, Paul B. Ginsburg of HSC and James M. Verdier of Mathematica Policy Research
Medicares decision-making processes leave policies on provider payment vulnerable to "micromanagement" by Congress and the White House. The status quo could jeopardize delivery system changes central to current health reform proposals. Ad hoc intervention in response to pressure from narrow interests can result in policies that do not serve the broader priorities of beneficiaries and taxpayers and that are unsound economically. Establishing a new Medicare policy board, as proposed by the Obama administration and Congress; transforming the Medicare agency into an independent agency or new department; and conducting analyses of congressionally proposed payment policy changes before they are voted on could further insulate payment decisions from political interference.
The Center for Studying Health System Change is a nonpartisan policy research organization committed to providing objective and timely research on the nations changing health system to help inform policy makers and contribute to better health care policy. HSC, based in Washington, D.C., is funded principally by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and is affiliated with Mathematica Policy Research, Inc.