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Health Care Costs: What Can Be Done?

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Though there is still disagreement about the extent to which various cost drivers contribute to the troubling trajectory of health care spending in the United States, there are success stories. This briefing took a look at some of the innovative strategies in both the public and private sectors that have bent the cost curve downwards and some that may hold promise for lowering the rate of growth of national health care spending. The briefing also featured Dr. Paul Ginsburg presenting a paper that was commissioned especially for this series. The paper examines a range of policy strategies that might promote changes in health financing and delivery that would encourage higher quality and more efficient care delivery.

This event was held on Tuesday, June 12 in the Kaiser Family Foundation’s Barbara Jordan Conference Center in Washington.


Susan Dentzer, Health Affairs, Moderator
Karen Davis, The Commonwealth Fund, Speaker
Scott Serota, Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, Speaker
Stuart Butler, Heritage Foundation, Speaker
Jim Guest, Consumer Reports, Speaker
Anne Weiss, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Speaker
Gerry Shea, AFL-CIO, Speaker
David Pryor, Ascension Health, Speaker
Marilyn Tavenner, Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services , Speaker

Transcript, Event Summary and/or Webcast and Podcast

Transcript: Transcript (Adobe Acrobat PDF), 6/12/2012
Full Webcast/Podcast: Health Care Costs: What Can Be Done?

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

Speaker Presentations

Karen Davis' Presentation (PowerPoint), 6/12/2012
Scott Serota's Presentation (PowerPoint), 6/12/2012
Paul Ginsburg's Presentation (PowerPoint), 6/12/2012
Agenda (Adobe Acrobat PDF), 6/12/2012

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

Source Materials

Materials List (Adobe Acrobat PDF), , 6/12/2012
Why Not Big Ideas and Big Interventions? (Adobe Acrobat PDF), , 6/12/2012

Offsite Materials (briefing documents saved on other websites)

Aligning Forces for Quality: Improving Health & Health Care in Communities Across America. (Adobe Acrobat PDF),Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, 8/1/2010
Aspirin, Angioplasty, and Proton Beam Therapy: The Economics of Smarter Health Care Spending (Adobe Acrobat PDF),Jackson Hole Economic Policy Symposium, 9/9/2011
- Baicker, Katherine and Amitabh Chandra
Performance Improvement in Health Care – Seizing the Moment, New England Journal of Medicine, 4/26/2012
- Blumenthal, David
Medicare Variation Revisited: Is Something Wrong with McAllen, Texas, or Is Something Wrong with Medicare? (Adobe Acrobat PDF),The Heritage Foundation: WebMemo, 1/4/2011
- Book, Robert
Comprehensive Primary Care Initiative, CMS Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation, 6/6/2012
Cost Drivers in Health Care (Adobe Acrobat PDF),Health Policy Alternatives and Alliance for Health Reform, 4/1/2012
Counting Change: Measuring Prices, Costs, and Spending, Robert Wood Johsnons Foundation, 3/1/2012
Data Brief: U.S. Healthcare Spending: The Big Picture (Adobe Acrobat PDF),National Institute for Health Care Management, 5/1/2012
Illustrating Innovation Through Bright Spots, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, 5/1/2012
It’s Not the Economy, Stupid!, American Enterprise Institute: The Health Care Blog, 3/9/2012
- Kleinke, J.D
Knotty Challenges in Health Care Costs, New York Times, 3/5/2012
- Kolata, Gina
ACOs at Mid-Launch: Moving Forward But Challenges Ahead (Adobe Acrobat PDF),National Institute for Health Care Management: Expert Voices, 5/1/2012
- Lieberman, Steven
A New Cost Control Idea – Paying for Outcomes (Guest Opinion), Kaiser Health News. May 9, 2011, 5/9/2011
- McDonough, John
Improving Health Care Value Through Increased Access to Palliative Care (Adobe Acrobat PDF),National Institute for Health Care Management, 4/1/2012
- Meier, Diane
From Volume to Value: Better Ways to Pay for Health Care (Adobe Acrobat PDF),Health Affairs, 9/1/2009
- Miller, Harold
What We Talk about When We Talk about Health Care Costs, New England Journal of Medicine, 2/16/2012
- Neumann, Peter
Throwing Darts: Americans’ Elusive Search for Health Care Cost Control, Journal of Health Politics, Policy, and Law, 6/1/2011
- Oberlander, Jonathan
How Health Care Can Save or Sink America., Foreign Affairs, 7/1/2011
- Orszag, Peter
Preventive Services Without Cost Sharing (Adobe Acrobat PDF),Health Affairs, 12/28/2010
Divide Et Impera: Protecting the Growth of Health Care Incomes (Costs). (Adobe Acrobat PDF),Health Economics, 1/1/2012
- Reinhardt, Uwe
Tiered Provider Networks as a Strategy to Improve Health Care Quality and Efficiency (Adobe Acrobat PDF),National Institute for Health Care Management, 2/1/2012
- Sinaiko, Anna
That CT scan costs how much?, Consumer Reports, 7/1/2012
The Performance Imperative: Utilizing a Coordinated, Community-Based Approach to Enhance Care and Lower Costs for Chronically Ill Patients., The Commonwealth Fund, 4/1/2012
The Role of Prevention in Bending the Cost Curve. (Adobe Acrobat PDF),Urban Insititute: Health Policy Center, 10/1/2011
- Waidmann, Timothy, Barbara A. Ormond, and Randall R. Bovbjerg


Marilyn Tavenner, acting CMS administrator, discussed CMS efforts to promote good health and good care, and to lower costs, at the June 12 briefing sponsored by the Alliance and nine cosponsors. For the complete webcast of the briefing, click here.

Karen Davis, president of The Commonwealth Fund, offered case studies from the public and private sectors in how to control health care costs at the June 12 briefing sponsored by the Alliance and nine cosponsors. For the complete webcast, click here.

Scott Serota, president and CEO of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, explained what's working for association plans to bring costs under control, at the June 12 briefing sponsored by the Alliance and nine cosponsors. For the complete webcast, click here.

Paul Ginsburg, president of the Center for Studying Health System Change, offered several policy solutions to bring down the growth of health care spending at the June 12 briefing sponsored by the Alliance and nine cosponsors. For the complete webcast, click here.


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