Health Affairs , Vol. 32, No. 5
Paul B. Ginsburg
The best opportunity to pursue cost containment in the next five to ten years is through reforming provider payment to gradually diminish the role of fee-for-service reimbursement. Public and private payers have launched many promising payment reform pilots aimed at blending fee-for-service with payment approaches based on broader units of care, such as an episode or patients’ total needs over a period of time, a crucial first step. But meaningful cost containment from payment reform will not be achieved until Medicare and Medicaid establish stronger incentives for providers to contract in this way, with discouragement of nonparticipation increasing over time. In addition, the models need to evolve to engage beneficiaries, perhaps through incentives for patients to enroll in an accountable care organization and to seek care within that organization’s network of providers.
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