The Affordable Care Act is the most far-reaching effort to contain health care costs to date. The new law includes an array of reforms to the way health care is paid for and delivered—reforms that reward the value and quality of care, not just the quantity of care. These signals to health care providers are already catalyzing change throughout the health care system.
But health care costs remain a major challenge. National health spending is projected to continue to grow faster than the economy, increasing from 18 percent of the economy to about 25 percent by 2037. Even with the new law, federal health spending is projected to increase from 25 percent of total federal spending to about 40 percent by 2037.
These trends could squeeze out critical investments in education and infrastructure, contribute to unsustainable debt levels, and constrain wage increases for middle-class workers. The Center for American Progress convened leading health policy experts—including current and former federal and state officials, executives of health insurers and hospital systems, physicians, and economists—to develop bold and innovative solutions to contain health care costs. These are their recommendations.