The current recommendations would lower US health spending by 9% (with more to come as we add more policy briefs)

The goal of the 1% Steps for Health Care Reform Project is to shift the way we think about health care spending in the US and offer a roadmap to policy makers of tangible steps we as a country can take to lower the cost of health care in the US. We want to leverage leading scholars’ work to identify discrete problems in the US health system and offer evidence-based steps for reform. We will continually update the project with new proposals that are based on the latest academic research.

The sheer scale of the US health care system is what makes reforming it so difficult. If the US health system, measured in dollars, was a country, it would be the fifth largest country in the world, larger than the economies of Germany, India, and the United Kingdom. In a $3.8 trillion system, there is not a single problem that makes us an international outlier. Rather than speaking about health spending via abstractions, high health care costs in the US can be viewed as the result of a series of discrete problems that each incrementally raises health spending by a percent or two–so-called 1% problems.

We can address health care costs in the US by going step by step, solving individual problems, and constantly improving. Each participant in this project wants to help policy makers at the local, state, and federal levels address the inefficiency of the US health care system. This isn’t a static project. We will be continuously integrating new briefs on new discrete problems with the evidence-based steps to solve them.

The project, to date, includes 16 policy briefs that, if all addressed, would sum to a 9 percent reduction in health spending. The briefs address prescription drug pricing, reforms in how Medicare pays providers, steps to address rising insurance premiums, and recommendations to increase organ donation. More briefs are to follow. Each set of policy proposals has tradeoffs, and the authors are willing and eager to engage with policy makers on refining their proposals and implementing their recommendations.

About the Project