Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) have asked the Government Accountability Office to identify best practices used by states, hospitals and other countries, to see if these methods could be applied nationwide.
Healthcare spending by both public and private payers has been growing faster than the economyabout 2.5% more per year since the 1960s. There is no reason to expect these high growth rates to abate, as healthcare spending is projected to encompass 20% of (the) gross domestic product in just 10 years, the senators wrote in a letter to GAO.
The senators called for a greater focus on improving health outcomes and on increasing prevention and wellness, in addition to reducing waste in the healthcare system.
If we as a society fail to control healthcare costs, there will be a detrimental effect on our nations economy and standard of living, the letter stated. To improve value in healthcare spending, we must balance our need to control costs with the need to maintain quality of care. -- by Jennifer Lubell