Health Care Costs: Solutions from HCFO Research


As policymakers seek to address the nation’s burgeoning deficit, they are ultimately confronted with how to rein in rising health care costs.  Complicating the problem is the fact that policymakers, hospital executives, employers, consumers and others may use the single phrase “health care costs” to refer to several very different ideas, including the costs of health care services, their prices, reimbursements to providers, health insurance premiums, and patients’ out-of-pocket spending.  Distinguishing among trends in costs, prices and overall health care spending is just a first step in addressing the overarching issue.

The complex challenges around health care costs, prices and spending have been topics explored through HCFO’s portfolio of funded research throughout the program’s 24-year history.  While the specific issues addressed in these studies vary widely, the work falls into three general categories: 1) research that examines the cost or payment impact of existing policies; 2) research that examines strategies to reduce health care costs; and 3) research that looks at issues of cost and spending more generally.  The information presented here is not intended to be a comprehensive list of relevant HCFO work, but rather a helpful guide for assessing the range of policy-relevant research on these topics.  Details about the grants, including study findings, can be accessed by clicking on the grant titles.  A complete list of HCFO-funded research on costs and cost containment is available here.