Corrected Link: In Congressional Testimony, Karen Davis Urges a 'System' Approach to Health Reform

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<p>Noting that President Obama has called for "bold change to address the crushing financing burdens of rising health care costs for both businesses and families," Commonwealth Fund president Karen Davis told a key congressional committee today that the next step is to decide "how to secure insurance coverage and change payment incentives to emphasize value, not volume."</p>
<p>In her <a href="/Content/Publications/Testimonies/2009/Mar/Testimony-Putting-the-US-Health-System-on-the-Path-to-High-Performance.aspx">invited testimony</a> at the U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means hearing, "Health Reform in the 21st Century: Expanding Coverage, Improving Quality and Controlling Costs," Davis discussed the key strategies and recommendations detailed in the recent report released by the Fund's Commission on a High Performance Health System, <a href="/Content/Publications/Fund-Reports/2009/Feb/The-Path-to-a-High-Performance-US-Health-System.aspx">The Path to a High Performance U.S. Health System: A 2020 Vision and the Policies to Pave the Way</a>, which lays out an integrated set of policies aimed at slowing growth in health care costs, ensuring access to quality care, and protecting families. "In short, we need a 'system' approach to take a new path for the nation's health system," she said.</p>
<p>The central feature of the Path framework is a national health insurance exchange offering a choice of private health plans and a new public plan. Davis says the exchange would provide a mechanism for employers and individuals to obtain coverage with multiple advantages. The approach would: </p>
<li>Build on and harness the strengths of both private insurance and publicly-sponsored insurance </li>
<li>Improve choice and continuity and provide a secure option nationwide that will always be there </li>
<li>Enable rapid implementation of much-needed payment and system reform, including enhanced payments for primary care provided through medical homes, bundled payments for acute care episodes to encourage integrated care, and payments that are aligned with value </li>
<li>Ensure that markets work in the public interest </li>
<li>Reduce administrative cost and complexity </li>
<li>Provide a less expensive foundation for expanding coverage to everyone.</li>
<p>"The comprehensive reforms proposed by the Commission," Davis said, "will help spark economic recovery, put the nation back on a path to fiscal responsibility, and ensure that all families and individuals are able to get the care they need with financial security."</p>