Health Care Cost Growth Can Be Slowed, Experts Say

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<p>Nearly all respondents to the latest <a href="/publications/publication/2009/apr/health-care-opinion-leaders-views-slowing-growth-health-care">Commonwealth Fund/<i>Modern Healthcare </i>Health Care Opinion Leaders Survey </a>agree that the U.S. must rein in the growth of health care spending, and most believe it is possible to hold steady the current percentage of gross domestic product (GDP) devoted to health care over the next decade. In addition, large majorities expressed support for a range of strategies to reduce costs, including many of those outlined in President Obama's budget blueprint.</p>
<p>Currently, the nation as a whole spends 17 percent of GDP on health care; that proportion is projected to grow to 21 percent by 2020.</p>
<p>Opinion leaders voiced strong support for various aspects of payment reform, including moving away from "fee-for-service" payment toward "bundled" payment (70%), aligning rates for Medicare Advantage private plans with those paid in traditional Medicare (77%), and providing greater incentives for high performance care (87%). Having Medicare negotiate prescription drug prices was supported by 82 percent of respondents.</p>
<p>"Although the United States spends more than any other country on health care, too many Americans are still falling through the cracks," said Commonwealth Fund President Karen Davis. "These survey results show substantial consensus among leaders on the need to control health care costs while fundamentally transforming our health care system to one that provides affordable, high-quality, coordinated care for all Americans."</p>
<p>Respondents to the survey include a diverse group of health care experts representing academia, health care delivery, health insurance and other health industries, business, government, labor, and advocacy.</p>
<p>Also read commentaries on the survey results by <a href="/publications/publication/2009/apr/uniquely-american-solution-collaboration-leadership-required">Karen Ignagni</a>, president and CEO of America's Health Insurance Plans, and <a href="/publications/publication/2009/apr/change-microenvironment-delivery-system-reform-essential">Francis J. Crosson, M.D.,</a> senior fellow at the Kaiser Permanente Institute for Health Policy, chair of the Council of Accountable Physician Practices, and commissioner of the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission.</p>