Magazine article Government Finance Review

Transforming the Health-Care System

Magazine article Government Finance Review

Transforming the Health-Care System

Article excerpt

The nation's governors and other state leaders can improve the U.S. health-care system by making it more coordinated, patient-centered, and less costly, according to a new report by the State Health Care Cost Containment Commission, organized by the University of Virginia's Miller Center. The commission aims to jump-start health-care cost containment in 2014.

State governments have a number of policy options available to transform the current fee-for-service health-care system into one that delivers substantially more value to patients, according to the commission. The report, titled Cracking the Code on Health Care Costs, says solutions must be tailored to the unique health-care markets and cultures of individual states. The United States is now in a period of health-care experimentation, and states are adaptable, able to quickly modify programs to ensure that they work--as they did with clean air, welfare, and education reforms.

The report recommends that states take the following steps.

Create an Alliance of Stakeholders to Transform the Health-Care System. To move toward a more cost-effective health-care system, state government must form an alliance with purchasers, the medical community, and other stakeholders to create a consensus and commitment for change.

Define and Collect Data to Create a Profile of Health Care in the State. Working with their stakeholder alliance, states should establish a common definition of health-care spending, identify quality-tracking measures, create a process for collecting cost and quality data, and conduct an initial analysis of where health-care spending is higher than national norms.


Establish Statewide Baselines and Goals for Health-Care Spending, Quality, and Other Measures, as Appropriate. The state and its alliance should establish appropriate targets for limiting cost growth and quality improvements in the health-care system. …

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