New York, NY, July 26, 2007 -- Several health reform bills before Congress could lead to significant improvements in health care quality and efficiency, but they fall short of an overarching, coordinated plan that would create a better overall health care system for the country, according to an analysis released today by the Commonwealth Fund and prepared for the Commonwealth Fund Commission on a High Performance Health System.
The report, Congressional Health Care Bills, 2005-2007: Part II, Quality and Efficiency, is the second installment in a two-part series assessing major health care proposals before Congress. The analysis indicates that bills seeking to change Medicares payment structure hold the most promise for health care savings and quality improvement. The first installment of the analysis of health care bills, released in March 2007, analyzed and compared leading health care bills to expand health care coverage. That analysis indicated that several of the leading bills, if enacted, could lead to universal insurance coverage and had the potential to reduce U.S. health spending by up to $61 billion.
At a time when health care is dominating the domestic policy agenda, and as presidential candidates put forward their health care plans, the Commonwealth Fund analysis offers insights and recommendations for elements needed to improve the current health care system. There is no question that the leading health care bills introduced into Congress in the past two years are important steps toward addressing serious deficiencies in this countrys health care system, said Karen Davis, President of The Commonwealth Fund, and lead author of the study. Yet taken as a whole, they leave important gapsgaps that will prevent this country from providing accessible, high-quality, efficient care to all.
Whats missing in the current legislative agenda? An overarching strategy. Davis and colleagues recommend: