As medical expenditures approach 20% of GDP, Health Affairs Council delineates road map to lower national bill.
Streamlining administration, price controls and competition, spending growth targets, and value-based care will help rein in the wild growth of medical spending in the United States.
Those measures were part of “A Road Map For Action: Recommendations Of The Health Affairs Council On Health Care Spending And Value, a 54-page report published earlier this year. The nonpartisan group of experts aimed to moderate the growth of health care spending, while maximizing its value.
“The level of collaboration and compromise that will be required to implement these recommendations is significant,” the report said. “However, in steering policy makers and other stakeholders toward a set of recommendations that has been vetted and supported by a diverse group of experts with divergent interests, the Council hopes to provide a strong starting point for action. As noted previously, stakeholders must start where they are, with the tools currently available, and move forward. These recommendations contain a road map for doing so.”
The problem, simply stated: “For decades, the level and growth of U.S. health care spending have diverged from both international and domestic norms, leading many to characterize rising health expenditures as ‘unsustainable,’” the report said.
Health care provided 22 million jobs, or 14% of the workforce, in 2019, and physicians, clinicians, and support staff have helped patients make improvements in morbidity and mortality. But by 2019, national health care spending grew 17.7% of the U.S. gross domestic product, then jumped to 19.7% in 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
That “rate of U.S. health care spending raises concerns about Americans’ continued ability to pay for all other goods and services,” at the government, work, and family levels, the report said. Comparisons to other developed nations beg the question whether the nation could get better value for the money.
The Council evaluated prices, volume, appropriate mix of care, and growth, noting recommendations must address all four to be effective. There is no single intervention that will solve the problem, but multiple recommendations with numerous entities are needed, the report said.
The recommendations are:
Price regulation and supports for competition
Spending growth targets