Is Choice of Physician and Hospital an Essential Benefit

Published in: JAMA, The Journal of the American Medical Association, v. 305, no. 2, Commentary, Jan. 12, 2011, p. 195-196

Posted on RAND.org on January 12, 2011

by Robert H. Brook

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The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act1 requires that the federal government define an essential benefit package for those individuals who will obtain insurance through the new health insurance exchanges. The Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services has asked the Institute of Medicine to assist in this activity. But how should an essential benefit be designed in an era when health care is far more expensive, the number of tests and procedures is significantly greater, and evidence-based medicine is the slogan of the day?

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