"It's Complicated": Marrying the Evidence on Health Spending to Health Policy Reform

For several decades, researchers at Dartmouth College have compiled mounting evidence that notable differences in the levels of health spending and utilization across the United States are not correlated with better health outcomes or increased patient satisfaction. In recent years, some leading health policymakers have recommended using such cost and quality measures to reward health providers on the basis of their "relative efficiency."

However, critics such as pulmonary physician Peter B. Bach, M.D., of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center have cautioned that the current approaches used in hospital efficiency rankings are unsound and fail to accurately identify high-performing providers. Other researchers, such as Andrew Rettenmaier of the Private Enterprise Research Center at Texas A&M University, have observed that different indicators of geographic variation in health spending related to types of insurance coverage show less potential for cost savings. On the other hand, Amitabh Chandra of Harvard University has argued that there is tremendous variation in the efficiency of local health delivery systems, and that we could reduce the rate of growth in health spending by rewarding those systems that successfully keep costs in check while delivering quality health care.

This forum examined what we have learned from research on geographic variation in health spending and which health policy reforms are more likely to succeed in strengthening incentives to improve the efficiency of health providers' performance.

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Wednesday, September 03, 2014 | 9:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
From anarchy to Augustus: Lessons on dealing with disorder, from Rome’s first emperor

We invite you to join us for two panel discussions on how Augustus created order from chaos 2,000 years ago, and what makes for durable domestic and international political systems in the 21st century.

Wednesday, September 03, 2014 | 12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Multiple choice: Expanding opportunity through innovation in K–12 education

Please join us for a book launch event and panel discussion about how a marketplace of education options can help today's students succeed in tomorrow's economy. Attendees will receive a complimentary copy of the featured book.

Thursday, September 04, 2014 | 12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.
How conservatives can save the safety net

Please join us for a luncheon event in which our panel will discuss what conservatives can learn from how liberals talk and think about the safety net and where free-market economics, federalism, and social responsibility intersect to lift people out of poverty.

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