American Health Care: Why So Costly?

American Health Care: Why So Costly?

From policymakers and employers to healthcare professionals and the uninsured, many Americans are concerned about rapidly rising healthcare costs. Earlier this month, Commonwealth Fund president Karen Davis testified before a Senate subcommittee that the key to containing spiraling costs is greater efficiency in the healthcare system. In her testimony, published as American Health Care: Why So Costly? (33 pages, PDF), she pointed out that the federal government spends $455 billion for health care but provides only $300 million to the budget of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality for developing effective ways to improve the performance of the nation's health system. Davis also recommended several steps to achieve a more efficient and accessible health system, including public reporting of healthcare costs, the establishment of quality standards, broad-scale demonstrations of new approaches to insurance coverage, investment in modern information technology, and performance incentives for healthcare providers.