Health Costs: Great Ideas, continued
A supplement with new material and web resources for State Legislatures magazine articles- June, July-August, 2012
Updated: August 2012
Note from the authors:
The issue of health costs and initiatives for cost containment and efficiencies is both urgent and ongoing. The series of articles featured in State Legislatures magazine in mid-2012 provide some highlights and examples of promising practices for more than a dozen approaches already in use. For those readers seeking more information, original source material and on-site contacts, we have compiled this Health Cost Supplement. Feel free to use the links, notes and full publications listed by topics and titles. Note that five published topics (below) were not described in State Legislatures Magazine due to space. Three new topics are premiered in the magazine rather than in separate briefs.
NCSL Online Resources: Updates and Recent News
The links in the 2nd column frequently contain newer information and publications completed since the Briefs
More Reading and Resources:
Health Care Costs: A Primer. This primer on health care spending in the United States reviews the growth in health care spending since 1970 and the impact of health care costs on families and employers. Published by the Kaiser Family Foundation, May 2012.
U.S. Health Care Spending: The Big Picture. The first in a new series of NIHCM data briefs on national health spending, pulls together the most current data available from multiple sources to provide an overview of the subject. The brief covers: trends in health spending growth and the problem of excess growth,the sectors driving increased spending,the growth in public versus private spending, andchanges in consumer out-of-pocket spending. Published by the NIHCM Foundation, May 2012.
Leveraging Innovative Technologies to Combat Health Care Fraud- A free Webinar, held Wednesday, June 13, 2012
This free webinar explored successful strategies to combat fraud and abuse in health care. Speakers will discuss the use of sophisticated IT systems and increased information sharing to identify abuses and reduce losses. This webinar is co-sponsored by the NCSL/FSL Transforming Health Care Through Technology Project and the NCSL Communications, Financial Services and Interstate Commerce Committee. More information.
Rationing Health Care More Fairly - The cross-fire over who will cut Medicare by how much sidesteps a critical issue about the future of our medical care: If we must ration our care to hold down costs in the future, how can we do it in a fair, efficient and transparent way? "The federal government’s spending on health care consumes 4.8 percent of the nation’s economic production and is expected to eat up 9.2 percent in 25 years, according to estimates from the Congressional Budget Office. A vast majority of economists (polled as the IGM Forum) agree that restoring a sustainable budget will mean either cuts in Medicare and or a tax increase on the middle class." New York Times Business section, August 22, 2012.
Healthcare costs for American families in 2012 exceed $20,000 for the first time - The annual Milliman Medical Index (MMI) measures the total cost of healthcare for a typical family of four covered by a preferred provider organization (PPO) plan. The 2012 MMI cost is $20,728, an increase of $1,335, or 6.9% over 2011. The rate of increase is not as high as in the past, but the total dollar increase was still a record. The totals include payments outside of insurance coverage such as over-the-counter medications and supplements, as well as dental or vision care. This is the first year the average cost of healthcare for the typical American family of four has surpassed $20,000. Published 5/15/2012.
In the News:
Missouri's Supreme Court ruled unconstitutional a 2005 state law setting a $350,000 cap on non-economic damages in medical liability cases (August 3, 2012).
Massachusetts 2012 State Law - The Massachusetts legislature passed a bill, signed into law August 6, 2012, to limit the growth of health care costs. The "Act improving the quality of health care and reducing costs through increased transparency, efficiency and innovation," S.2400 is available in full text and as a four-page summary. The new law allows health spending to grow no faster than the state’s economy through 2017, defined as the state’s gross state product (GSP). For five years after that, spending would slow further, to half a percentage point below the growth of the economy, although leaders would have the power under certain circumstances to soften that target. The bill also includes provisions to encourage a shift to paying hospitals and doctors for overall patient care rather than for every test and treatment. “We are ushering in the end of the fee-for-service care system in Massachusetts in favor of better care, at lower cost,” Governor Duval Patrick said at the signing ceremony at the State House. Authors calculated that this law will result in savings of up to $200 billion over the next 15 years. News: Boston Globe: "Patrick signs health cost bill" | Video: CBS Video: Watch Josh Archambault vs. Health Financing Chair Rep. Steve Walsh on New Health Care Law's Cost. | Video: WWLP 22 News: "Gov signs health care overhaul bill." (August 2012)
Arkansas Hospitals Contributed $10+ Billion to the Economy in 2010 (August 2, 2012).
You can contact NCSL project staff and authors, Richard Cauchi (Program Director) and Kara Hinkley (Research Analyst, II) of the Health Program