Understanding The Burning Platform Of Health Care Spending Growth (Health Affairs)

HEALTH AFFAIRS | By Bill Frist, MD and Margaret Hamburg, MD

In January, we were honored to co-chair the inaugural meeting of the Health Affairs Council on Health Care Spending and Value. This diverse group of 22 health care leaders has come together to stimulate a national discussion about whether we should—and how we could—constrain what feels like runaway health care spending.

An explicit conversation about this issue has long been taboo in US health policy and politics, but with health care now consuming 17.9 percent of our gross domestic product (GDP)—up from 5 percent in 1960—that time is over. It is time for us to speak boldly and thoughtfully about the wisdom, sustainability, and return on investment of these levels of funding and examine the consequences of continuing health care cost growth along the lines of what we have seen in the past few decades.

The council’s formal charge, which will shape a three-year work plan and recommendations, is “to provide a focal point for evidence-based discussion, analysis, and action regarding what we get for our health care spending in the US, whether it is worth it, and how we might collectively take a more deliberate approach toward maximizing our investment in health care.” We want to ask tough questions, checking our allegiances and party affiliations at the door, and together, find evidence-based answers that are desperately needed to move this dialog forward. 

Read more at the Health Affairs blog: