“American health care is inefficient in a way that is both lower-quality and higher-cost than it [...]needs to be,” says Harvard economist David Cutler, who spoke at the School of Public Health’s 11th annual Bicknell Lecture.
According to Cutler, the health care reform legislation signed by President Obama in March will spur the creation of accountable care organizations (ACOs), networks of doctors and other caregivers who work together to better coordinate patient care from start to finish. The idea is that greater efficiency weeds out unnecessary costs. Furthermore, the reform law authorizes Medicare, the federal health insurance program for senior citizens, to use ACOs for its patients. Given Medicare’s vastness (45 million seniors covered), Cutler says the idea is that if the massive program improves care and efficiency with ACOs, private insurers will follow suit.
Cutler’s lecture is followed by a three-person panel discussion led by Andrew Dreyfus, president and CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, Kate Walsh, president and CEO of Boston Medical Center, and Alice A. Tolbert Coombs, president of the Massachusetts Medical Society.
Hosted by the School of Public Health on October 1, 2010.