The Bipartisan Policy Center’s Healthcare Cost Containment Initiative has issued comprehensive recommendations to improve the health-care delivery system and reduce cost growth. The recommendations envision a transition from volume-based, fee-for-service payment systems toward more organized, coordinated systems of care. For instance, rather than trying to accommodate most patients with a 15-minute office visit, a reformed payment system would encourage the use of email and phone calls when appropriate, and longer visits when needed.
One way that policymakers could advance the goal of changing the system in the near-term is by addressing that issue within Medicare, which provides health insurance for seniors and certain people with disabilities. Annual increases to Medicare’s physician payments could be made conditional on greater accountability for quality and value.