Lay the Foundation for an Accountable Health Care System, Karen Davis Tells Senate Panel

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<p>Americans value good health care more than just about any other good or service produced in the economy, yet policy officials, business leaders, and experts express alarm when health care spending grows as a percentage of GDP. According to Commonwealth Fund president Karen Davis, the disconnect occurs because U.S. spending on health care does not reflect the value of health care delivered.<br><br>In her <a href="/publications/testimonies/2008/mar/testimony--health-and-wealth--measuring-health-system-performance
">invited testimony</a> today at the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation hearing, "Rethinking the Gross Domestic Product as a Measurement of National Strength," Davis said that evidence from other countries--as well as from some states within the U.S.--shows it is possible to have better health outcomes while spending less on health care.<br><br>To help propel the nation on a path to high value, high performance health care, Davis calls for "establishing a process, such as a Council of Health Advisers, parallel to the National Economic Council, charged with setting national goals for the health system, setting priorities for improvement, and making an annual report to Congress on health system performance." The report, she says, should include analyses of health outcomes across regions and population groups, access to care, quality of care, efficiency, and "our health care system's capacity to innovate and improve."<br><br>Such an accounting "would lay a sound foundation for public policy discussions," she says, while helping to "hold the health system accountable for yielding value commensurate with the resources we devote to health care."</p>