Bending the Curve: Effective Steps to Address Long-Term Health Care Spending Growth Slowing Health Care Costs

Publication Date: September 2009

Publisher: Engelberg Center for Health Care Reform at Brookings; Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Author(s): Michael. Chernew; John. Bertko; Joseph. Antos; Leonard. Schaeffer; Mark. Pauly; Dana. Goldman; David. Cutler; Elizabeth. McGlynn; Mark. McClellan; Stephen. Shortell

Research Area: Health

Type: Report


Much of the rhetoric around health reform has centered on the over-riding need to reduce the growth of health care costs, but agreeing on approaches that accomplish this goal has proven elusive. In order to slow the rise in health care costs, steps must be taken to address significant problems that exist with payment, benefits, regulations, and organizations in the current health care system.

According to the report, health care reform should include comprehensive efforts to achieve higher-value care. The strategy the authors lay out consists of four interrelated pillars:

* Investments in better information and tools (e.g., health IT) to guide a reformed system.
* Support for accountable payment systems that reward providers who deliver lower-cost, high-quality care.
* Reform of health insurance markets and coverage subsidies around an exchange model that pools risk outside of employment and promotes competition on cost and quality.
* Support for better individual choices to improve health and save health care costs.