Seven million people have enrolled in health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. But though the window for open enrollment has closed, the door to the discussion on health care costs must remain wide open.
Increasing coverage is just the first step in addressing our very complex health care system, where high costs do not always match up with good results.
While the ACA includes several provisions to reduce health care costs, it's uncertain whether the law will ultimately control spending. And if we look at Massachusetts, whose health care law was the model for the ACA, for a clue, steep costs may remain a big problem.
Here's a review of some of our recent resources that can help you understand and think about our health care system and efforts to reduce its costs:
Curbing Health Care Costs: Are Citizens Ready to Wrestle with Tough Choices?
We gathered a group of insured and uninsured adults around the country to deliberate over several approaches to curb costs. While participants' initial understanding of health care costs was incomplete, they were open and eager to discuss even highly technical solutions. But they needed the space, tools and guidance to do so. Valuable citizen insights should not be lost because they lack these resources.
The report includes strategies to help community leaders and others in policy, health care and philanthropy meaningfully include citizens in the health care policy conversation.
Patients' Views On Reforming The Physician Fee-For-Service Payment System
The cost containing approaches that we explored in the above study included reforms to our payment system. Currently, we reimburse doctors and hospitals on a fee-for-service system. Payment reform is a key element to legislative plans to reduce costs.
Helping consumers understand the current payment system and leveraging their concerns about out-of-pocket spending may help move payment reform forward. In this post on Health Affairs, senior researcher David Schleifer explores how.
Tough Choices on Health Care - Ready or Not, Here They Come
Opinion polls suggest that the public broadly supports reducing health care costs -- because, who wouldn't? But a deeper look shows most Americans aren't thinking about health costs the same way experts do. This post from senior fellow Jean Johnson is part of our Beyond the Polls column, which takes a more holistic look at public views on critical issues.
We Must Help, Not Hinder, the Public on Understanding Health Care Reform
Similarly, this post also argues that, before we continue basing consequential health care decisions on public opinion, we must take a more nuanced look at how the public is really thinking.
Health Care: A Citizens' Solutions Guide
This guide provides a good basis for discussion with friends and colleagues. It outlines a few of the varied approaches to health care reform and ways to weigh the benefits and consequences of each.