Report Lays Out ‘Menu of Options’ To Improve U.S. Care, Lower Costs
The U.S. over the next 10 years could reduce health care costs by $1.5 trillion, expand health insurance to more residents and improve quality of care through widespread reforms to eliminate inefficiencies and increased taxes, according to a report released on Tuesday by the Commonwealth Fund, the Los Angeles Times reports.
According to the Times, the report, which seeks to "provide a menu of options" for the next president, includes 15 reforms taken from the major presidential candidates and others, many of which "are likely to stir controversy."
The U.S. could reduce health care costs by $88 billion through decreased paperwork and could save more through a system that pays physicians based on the quality and outcome, rather than the number, of tests and procedures they perform, according to the report.
In addition, the report examines an increase in the federal tobacco tax by $2 per pack from 39 cents per pack, as well as a one-cent tax on 12-ounce, sugar-sweetened soft drinks and a 1% tax on health insurance premiums. The soft drink tax could finance a campaign against obesity, and the health insurance tax would fund computerization of medical records.
The report combines proposals from Republican and Democratic presidential candidates for expansion of health insurance to more residents. It calls for a requirement that all residents obtain coverage and a proposal that would allow residents to purchase coverage in any state.
"We are not getting good value for our dollar," Commonwealth Fund President Karen Davis said, adding, "Will we continue to head down a path of less access to care (and) higher costs ... or will we start now to make the changes needed to transform our health care system?" (Alonso-Zaldivar, Los Angeles Times, 12/18).
The report is available online.