Options for Controlling Health Care Spending in Massachusetts

Video: RAND Congressional Briefing Series


Christine Eibner


RAND Corporation

Health care reform is one of the top legislative priorities for the 111th Congress. As the House and Senate debate the different proposals, one of the most common questions is how to reign in health care spending and decrease costs.

The RAND Corporation recently conducted an analysis of options for reducing health care spending in Massachusetts. Rising health care costs threaten to make the universal coverage initiative passed in 2006 unsustainable. The lessons learned in this study are broadly applicable and could help Congress navigate cost containment proposals in the health reform debate. Findings from the report presented at the briefing will include the following:

  • Policies that would reform payments systems are the most promising for reducing spending.
  • Policies aimed at managing chronic illness show limited potential for reducing spending—many require investments that may not pay off in the short to medium term.
  • No single policy is a magic bullet—a combined approach is likely necessary.
  • Experience with most of the policy options is limited.

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