As the nation debates health reform along with its choices for president, two health economists last week said the public sector could best serve innovation by following private markets' lead.
The economists, Neeraj Sood of the University of Southern California, and Aparna Higgins of America's Health Insurance Plans, made a case for the public sector as a collaborator rather than pioneer in efforts to develop new healthcare payment and delivery models. The government can best intervene, wrote Sood and Higgins, in cases where it could supply the capital, data or coordination to support private-market innovation.
Public officials should also consider more than their coffers as they debate public policy. And they should weigh the risks of how markets may respond to public policy, such as the potential for providers to exit markets when Medicare and Medicaid cut payment rates.