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Health Care Costs: The Role of Prices and Volume

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

This was the first event in a three-part series of discussions on costs, the factors driving them up and what (if anything) can be done about them. The series marks the Alliance for Health Reform’s 20th year of promoting informed and balanced discussion of health policy issues.

Much has been said about spending in governmental health care programs, notably Medicare and Medicaid. But employers, families and other payers have also experienced steady increases in health care spending. Many factors have been cited as health care cost drivers. This briefing and others in the series will take an in-depth look at a select few of the most often cited cost drivers, some of the innovations being tried to change the trajectory of health spending and policy options that might help overcome challenges and foster innovative solutions.


Susan Dentzer, Health Affairs, Moderator
Michael Chernew, Harvard, Speaker
Henry Aaron, The Brookings Institution, Speaker
Gail Wilensky, Project HOPE, Speaker
Helen Darling, National Business Group on Health, Speaker
Nancy Dickey, Texas A&M Health Science Center, former AMA President, Speaker
John Rother, National Coalition on Health Care, Speaker
Teri Fontenot, board chair, American Hospital Association, Speaker
Dan Mendelson, Avalere Health, Speaker
Andrew Dreyfus, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Massacusetts, Speaker

Transcript, Event Summary and/or Webcast and Podcast

Transcript: Health Care Costs: The Role of Prices and Volume (Adobe Acrobat PDF), 4/18/2012
Full Webcast/Podcast: Health Care Costs: The Role of Prices and Volume

The full webcast and podcast for this briefing, as well as videos of individual speakers' presentations, are provided by Kaiser Family Foundation.

Speaker Presentations

Michael Chernew Presentation (PowerPoint), 4/18/2012
John Rother Presentation (PowerPoint), 4/18/2012

(If you want to download one or more slides from these presentations, contact us at info@allhealth or click here for instructions.)

Source Materials

Agenda (Adobe Acrobat PDF), , 4/17/2012
Materials List (Adobe Acrobat PDF), , 4/17/2012
Issue Brief: Cost Drivers in Health Care (Adobe Acrobat PDF), Health Policy Alternatives, 4/1/2012
- A short summary of possible health care cost drivers, prepared by Jack Ebeler and his colleagues at Health Policy Alternatives

Offsite Materials (briefing documents saved on other websites)

Brand Name Drug Prices Continue to Climb Despite Low General Inflation Rate (Adobe Acrobat PDF),AARP Public Policy Institute,, 9/1/2009
Cost Drivers in Health Care, Health Policy Alternatives and Alliance for Health Reform, 4/1/2012
The Future of Health Care Costs: Hospital-Insurer Balance of Power (Adobe Acrobat PDF),National Institute for Health Care Management, 11/1/2010
- Austin Frakt
The $640 Billion Question – Why Does Cost-Effective Care Diffuse So Slowly? , New England Journal of Medicine,, 5/26/2011
- Fuchs, Victor, and Arnold Milstein
High and Rising Health Care Costs: Demystifying U.S. Health Care Spending (Adobe Acrobat PDF),Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, 10/1/2008
- Paul Ginsburg
Do We Really Want to Control Health Care Spending?”, Journal of Health Politics, Policy, and Law, 6/1/2011
- Michael Gusmano
Why America Spends More on Health Care (Adobe Acrobat PDF),National Institute for Health Care Management, 11/1/2009
- Jensen, Eric, and Lenny Mendonca
Knotty Challenges in Health Care Costs, New York Times, 3/5/2012
- Gina Kolata
High Health-Care Costs: It's All in the Pricing, Washington Post, 3/2/2012
- Ezra Klein
Health Care Cost Growth, Drivers, and Implications for States (Adobe Acrobat PDF),Wisconsin Family Impact Seminars, 4/18/2012
- Scott Leitz
From Volume to Value: Better Ways to Pay for Health Care (Adobe Acrobat PDF),Health Affairs, 9/1/2009
- Harold Miller
What We Talk about When We Talk about Health Care Costs, New England Journal of Medicine, 2/16/2012
- Peter Neumann
Government Price Controls for Health Care: A Deficit-Reduction Strategy to Avoid, Heritage Foundation, 11/30/2011
- Kathryn Nix
Measuring Health Care Prices, Costs, and Spending (Adobe Acrobat PDF),Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, 3/14/2012
- Painter, Michael, and Michael Chernew
Divide Et Impera: Protecting the Growth of Health Care Incomes (Costs) (Adobe Acrobat PDF),Health Economics , 1/1/2012
- Uwe Reinhardt
More Evidence of the Association Between Hospital Market Concentration and Higher Prices and Profits (Adobe Acrobat PDF),National Institute for Health Care Management, 11/1/2011
- James Robinson
Controlling Health Care Spending: The Imperative to Act and Diverse Views of the Road Forward, National Institute for Health Care Management Foundation, 2/1/2012
- Julie Schoenman
The Cost of Caring: Drivers of Spending on Hospital Care (Adobe Acrobat PDF),American Hospital Association, 3/1/2011
U.S. Health Care Costs, Kaiser Family Foundation, 1/1/2012


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