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Opinion: What’s in a health economist's toolbox for controlling cost growth?

The Hill, July 1, 2014

Last week, I attended the American Society of Health Economists' biennial conference in Los Angeles, where this year's theme emphasized the translation of economics to policy. Thus, it wasn't surprising that the conference organizers chose to discuss payment reform in a plenary session. Unbeknownst to most consumers, both the government and private-sector insurers have been making significant changes to how they reimburse hospitals and physicians for the services they provide to patients. Are economists being too hard on healthcare providers? Certainly not. Economists can offer strategies to control costs, while maintaining or improving the quality of care. Doing so can make healthcare and insurance affordable to more Americans.