But Will The Cost-Cutting Bills Really Save Money?

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It may not rank at the tippy-top of the titillation scale, but this thoughtful discussion about reining in health care costs featuring Brian Rosman of Health Care For All, and Joshua Archambault of The Pioneer Institute, covers some key issues in the House and Senate cost-cutting proposals now pending in the Legislature.

The plans are estimated to save about $150 billion over 15 years, but Archambault calls the proposals “faith-based initiatives,” when it comes to savings projections. That’s because he says it remains unclear if the new focus on prevention and wellness and the new payment models will actually save money.

“If we change the way we pay for health care and if we change the way we deliver health care, will we save money?” Archambault asks in the CommonWealth magazine “Face to Face” video conversation. He says there’s really no proof that these models will lead inexorably to savings.

Rosman responds optimistically, however, saying that restructuring payment incentives and changing medical practices to focus more on keeping patients healthy has already proven cost-effective in other arenas. One example he cites is the Commonwealth Care Alliance, which we’ve written about here. Under one CCA program, for instance, an asthmatic patient was provided with an air conditioner (even though air conditioners aren’t covered by Medicaid) which helped eased his symptoms. This is the type of preventive care, the thinking goes, that can keep more patients out of the hospital, and ultimately save money.

Also seen in WBUR and Daily Me.