Commentary: 7 Challenges To Cost Control

Len Nichols | Government Health IT | August 22, 2013

Len Nichols is a professor of Health Policy and Director of the Center for Health Research and Ethics at the College of Health and Human Services of George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. He serves on the Altarum Center for Sustainable Health Spending National Advisory Committee. This commentary is excerpted from his testimony to the Senate Budget Committee, July 30, 2013.

In Senate Budget Committee remarks on July 30, 2013, I argued that that the recent health care cost growth reduction is real, and that it could be maintained because incentive structures have the potential to link the self-interest of all major health system stakeholders with the social interest in cost growth containment, quality improvement, and better population health. I also discussed seven challenges to sustained cost growth reduction that I summarize below. Three are more political than policy-specific and thus Congressional leadership is necessary for us to rise to the challenges before us.