Prescriptions to Stem Surging Health Care Costs

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Katie Peters
Phone: 202.741.6285
Email: kpeters@americanprogress.org

Prescriptions to Stem Surging Health Care Costs

WASHINGTON - In this week’s TIME magazine cover story, contributor Steven Brill sheds light on the exorbitant health care costs plaguing our nation and reveals the shocking degree to which we allow hospitals, laboratories, and medical suppliers to profit at the expense of their patients.

National health spending is projected to continue to grow faster than the economy, increasing from 18 percent of the economy to about 25 percent by 2037. Even with the new health care reform law, federal health spending is projected to increase from 25 percent of total federal spending to about 40 percent by 2037. These trends could squeeze out critical investments in education and infrastructure, contribute to unsustainable debt levels, and constrain wage increases for middle-class workers.

CAP report: Cutting Health Care Costs: Leading Experts Propose Bold Solutions

Leading experts in the field of health care joined the Center for American Progress to develop a bold plan to address the crisis of rising health care costs in our nation. The 11 cost-containment solutions debuted the subject of a New England Journal of Medicine article, authored by 23 prominent health care experts, including Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, former administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Dr. Donald Berwick, former director of the Office of Management and Budget Peter Orszag, and Center for American Progress President Neera Tanden.

How CAP’s solutions connect to the TIME story:

  • The TIME article calls for a safe harbor from medical malpractice liability for physicians who follow evidence-based clinical practice guidelines. CAP’s menu of solutions includes a proposal to reduce the costs of defensive medicine.
  • The TIME article mentions the huge lobbying clout of hospitals and the ads they have purchased in congressional newspapers to oppose Medicare cuts. These efforts are directed at CAP proposals to cut hospital outpatient payments and graduate medical education.
  • To address excessive prices for medical devices, supplies, lab tests, and CT/MRI exams, CAP proposes competitive bidding for all health care products in both the public and private sectors.
  • To address excessive prices in the private sector, CAP proposes private price negotiations that are constrained by an overall spending target in each state.
  • The TIME article sheds lights on the excessive prices of the big, profitable hospitals. CAP proposes tiered insurance plans in which patients would pay less if they use lower-cost, high-quality hospitals instead of the highest-cost hospitals.
  • Finally, CAP advocates for full price transparency—it shouldn’t take a seven-month investigation by a reporter to find out what prices are being charged.

The following CAP experts are available to comment:

  • Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress
  • Dr. Donald Berwick, Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress; Former Administrator, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
  • Neera Tanden, President, Center for American Progress
  • Topher Spiro, Managing Director of Health Policy, Center for American Progress
  • Maura Calsyn, Associate Director of Health Policy, Center for American Progress
  • Igor Volsky, Deputy Editor, ThinkProgress

To speak with an expert on this topic, please contact Katie Peters at 202.741.6285 or kpeters@americanprogress.org.

Infographics: America’s High Health Care Costs by Maura Calsyn, Emily Oshima Lee

Additional resources from the Center for American Progress:

For additional information, please contact Katie Peters at 202.741.6285 or kpeters@americanprogress.org

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The Center for American Progress is a think tank dedicated to improving the lives of Americans through ideas and action. We combine bold policy ideas with a modern communications platform to help shape the national debate, expose the hollowness of conservative governing philosophy, and challenge the media to cover the issues that truly matter.

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