How can healthcare be made more affordable? A new paper, “Manage the causes, not the effect,” by Bill Rifkin, Tom Snook, and Ron Harris, addresses the cost-control question and suggests that the place to look for cost control is not at the premium level but further upstream. Key factors include the composition of the risk pool, unit cost, and utilization. In particular, some of the more promising cost-control measures surround utilization, as a convergence of efficiency and quality has emerged. Certain clinical practices can lead to improved healthcare quality for patients while also reducing waste and inefficiency.
And in one other interesting (and related) item, a Washington Post op-ed looks at the individual mandate, invoking analysis by Snook and Harris to emphasize the importance of an effective mandate as a cost-control mechanism.