Thursday, December 20, 2007

How To Save 88 Billion Dollars

Today the Health Care Reform Now! Blog is happy to share a multimedia extravaganza with our readers. The Commonwealth Fund's Commission on a High Performance Health System has released their report, Bending the Curve: Options for Achieving Savings and Improving Value in Health Spending, which shares savings estimates for 15 federal policy options over the next decade. The study examines the overall effect of many health care proposals put forth by the various U.S. Presidential candidates, as well as going into detail on the ramifications for all levels of government, average American households and private payers.

From the report's executive summary:

U.S. health spending is projected to increase from 16 percent of GDP in 2006 to 20 percent in 2016—from $2 trillion to $4 trillion. Meanwhile, the number of uninsured Americans continues to rise. In this report prepared for The Commonwealth Fund Commission on a High Performance Health System, the authors examine 15 federal policy options that have the potential to lower health spending relative to projected trends. They include policies that would: produce and use better information for health care decision-making, promote health and enhance disease prevention, align financial incentives with quality and efficiency, and correct price signals in health care markets. Combining policies would capture the synergistic benefits of individual changes. If implemented along with universal health insurance, a combination of selected options could save $1.5 trillion in national health expenditures over 10 years, while also improving value in terms of access, quality, and health care outcomes.
What does this have to do with multimedia you ask? To start off with here is a link to the video webcast of the report's unveiling which includes Commonwealth Fund President Karen Davis, Senior Commonwealth Fund Vice President Cathy Schoen, and President/CEO of the Employee Benefit Research Institute Dallas Salisbury as speakers.

For something a little bit more directly interactive the Commonwealth Fund team has thoughtfully provided an interactive matrix that will allow you to rapidly zero in on whatever particular aspect of the report most interests you. As you click through the various subheadings not only do you get a wealth of information, but also a striking array of graphs that present the data visually.

The report's executive summary contains not only all the raw data one would expect, but also a wide variety of PDFs that reconfigure the information in myriad ways for a variety of needs. The report itself and the executive summary are available as separate downloads, while the "chartpack," can be downloaded either as a PDF or as a PowerPoint Presentation. Many related publication and programs are also linked on this page as well. Whatever else you might say, The Commonwealth Fund makes it very easy to access their findings. This is only appropriate since one of their main assertions is that information technology is crucial as far as reducing overall costs is concerned:
Accelerate provider adoption of health information technology (HIT) with the capacity for decision support and to share patient health information across sites of care, financed by an assessment of 1 percent on insurance premiums and Medicare outlays. After initial investment costs, estimated net health system savings could reach $88 billion over 10 years as HIT capacity is improved. Net savings would accrue by year 10 to all except private payers, which would realize cumulative savings in following years.
(NOTE: Emphasis in the above quote is my own - GW)

SOURCE: "The Commonwealth Fund's Commission on a High Performance Health System"
SOURCE: "Bending the Curve: Options for Achieving Savings and Improving Value in Health Spending" 12/18/07
SOURCE: "Report Release On Estimated Savings From Specific Health Reform Options" 12/18/07
SOURCE: "Bending the Curve: Savings Matrix" 12/18/07
SOURCE: "Bending the Curve: Options for Achieving Savings and Improving Value in U.S. Health Spending" 12/18/07
photo courtesy of Bending the Curve

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