Ask any health care expert how the health reform bill intends to lower costs and you’ll get a list of answers: bundling payments regionally based on quality rather than volume, introducing incentives to reduce rehospitalizations, increasing the size of risk pools through insurance expansion to lower prices for all. These all fit into an idea we’ve fallen in love with as a nation: bending the cost curve.
In “The Mixed (De) Merits of ‘Bending the Cost Curve,’” a post on the Health Affairs Blog Joseph White dissects this questionable concept and examines the assumptions and implications behind our national proclivity to kick the can down the road when it comes to cutting costs. The analysis is summed up nicely in these lines (emphasis added):
One might expect that, with U.S. health care costs in 2008 sitting at 16 percentof GDP, and the next highest country just over 11 percent, politicians and business leaders and academics would have thought that the problem was thatcosts were too high at the time, rather than that they should be prevented from becoming too high in the future. Why, then, would anyone focus on the “cost curve,” rather than the costs? … Read More