Rising health care costs are putting financial pressure on all tiers of government, as well as businesses and individuals. While the rate of health spending growth has slowed slightly in recent years, policymakers are looking for long-term solutions. Over the past year, several prominent groups have proposed policy options to contain costs and transform the health care delivery system. Even though these organizations represent a variety of perspectives, there are substantial areas of consensus among their proposals.

The Commonwealth Fund asked researchers at George Washington University to identify major themes in seven such proposals, which represent comprehensive approaches to controlling health spending by improving system performance. Specifically, the proposals call for reforming the health care system through payment reforms, delivery system transformation, and improved care quality. The proposals analyzed for this project include:
When using this comparative tool, note that there are differing levels of consensus among the proposals across topic areas. For example, while all seven proposals may include policies to develop new benefit options for Medicare beneficiaries, the specific recommendations may vary in important ways. Still, the fact that all seven proposals address the development of new benefit options for Medicare beneficiaries is significant—and, in many instances, there are substantial commonalities among the proposed approaches that point to the potential for agreement. The appendix features detailed analysis of the policy options contained in all of the proposals.