Finding the Resources for Health Reform

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Comprehensive health care reform will likely require an investment of $1 trillion or more over 10 years. Fortunately, there are a number of options for financing this crucial federal investment and stimulating change throughout the health system. <br /><br />A new Commonwealth Fund report, <a href="/publications/fund-reports/2009/jul/finding-resources-health-reform-and-bending-health-care-cost">Finding Resources for Health Reform and Bending the Health Care Cost Curve,</a> examines policy options that could significantly slow the growth in health spending, improve health outcomes, and provide additional revenues to finance comprehensive reform. Prepared by the Fund’s Rachel Nuzum, Stephanie Mika, Cathy Schoen, and Karen Davis, the analysis compares and contrasts estimates of savings from enacting various policy changes, such as revising the way Medicare Advantage plans are paid, paying hospitals a bundled rate that covers acute and post-acute care, investing in comparative effectiveness research, and more. The report, which compares estimates developed by the Lewin Group (for The Commonwealth Fund), the Office of Management and Budget, and the Congressional Budget Office, illustrates how widely estimates of policy options can vary based on underlying assumptions. <br /><br />As the report shows, significant savings are indeed possible. The central challenge, say the authors, will be building the consensus needed to implement a set of policies that simultaneously expand access to care, improve quality, and slow the rate of cost growth. <br />