"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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Monday, October 27, 2014 | 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
State income taxes and the Supreme Court: Maryland Comptroller v. Wynne

Please join AEI for a panel discussion exploring these and other questions about this crucial case.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014 | 9:30 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
For richer, for poorer: How family structures economic success in America

Join Lerman, Wilcox, and a group of distinguished scholars and commentators for the release of Lerman and Wilcox’s report, which examines the relationships among and policy implications of marriage, family structure, and economic success in America.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014 | 5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
The 7 deadly virtues: 18 conservative writers on why the virtuous life is funny as hell

Please join AEI for a book forum moderated by Last and featuring five of these leading conservative voices. By the time the forum is over, attendees may be on their way to discovering an entirely different — and better — moral universe.

Thursday, October 30, 2014 | 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
A nuclear deal with Iran? Weighing the possibilities

Join us, as experts discuss their predictions for whether the United States will strike a nuclear deal with Iran ahead of the November 24 deadline, and the repercussions of the possible outcomes.

Thursday, October 30, 2014 | 5:00 p.m. – 6:15 p.m.
The forgotten depression — 1921: The crash that cured itself

Please join Author James Grant and AEI senior economists for a discussion about Grant's book, "The Forgotten Depression: 1921: The Crash That Cured Itself" (Simon & Schuster, 2014).

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