Regulatory Policy

Title Date

How Do Hospitals Cope with Sustained Slow Growth in Medicare Prices?

Health Services Research, Early View

On average, hospitals do not appear to make up for Medicare cuts by “cost shifting,” but by adjusting their operating expenses over the long run. The Medicare price cuts in the Affordable Care Act will “bend the curve,” that is, significantly slow the growth in hospitals’ ...

Contrary to Cost-Shifting Theory, Lower Medicare Hospital Payment Rates for Inpatient Care Lead to Lower Private Payment Rates

Health Affairs, Vol. 32, No. 5

Contrary to the notion that hospitals charge private payers higher payment rates to offset lower Medicare rates, it turns out the opposite is true—lower Medicare payment rates lead to lower private rates for inpatient care, according to a study by the Center for Studying Health System Change (HSC) ...

Achieving Health Care Cost Containment Through Provider Payment Reform that Engages Patients and Providers

Health Affairs, Vol. 32, No. 5

Scaling up health care payment reform to control costs and improve quality will require both sticks to prod providers from the sidelines and carrots to guide patients to more-efficient, higher-quality doctors and hospitals, according to an article by Paul B. Ginsburg, Ph.D., president of the Center for ...

Small Employers and Self-Insured Health Benefits: Too Small to Succeed?

HSC Issue Brief No. 138

While large firms often assume financial risk for enrollees’ medical care through self-insurance, small firms’ growing interest in the practice may pose challenges for policy makers, according to a new qualitative study by the Center for Studying Health System Change (HSC).

Addressing Hospital Pricing Leverage through Regulation: State Rate Setting

NIHCR Policy Analysis No. 9

Amid growing evidence that rising prices—especially for hospital care—play a key role in rising premiums for privately insured people, policy makers may want to revisit a tool—rate setting—used decades ago by a number of states to constrain hospital costs, according to a new Policy ...

The Growing Power of Some Providers to Win Steep Payment Increases from Insurers Suggests Policy Remedies May be Needed

Health Affairs, Vol. 31, No. 5

Given the negotiating clout of so-called must-have hospitals and physician groups, even dominant health plans are wary of disrupting the status quo by trying to constrain prices, perhaps because insurers can simply pass along higher costs to employers and their workers, according to a study by the Center ...

Limited Options to Manage Specialty Drug Spending

HSC Research Brief No. 22

Health insurers and employers have few tools to control rapidly rising spending on high-cost specialty drugs—typically high-cost biologic medications to treat complex medical conditions, according to a new qualitative study from the Center for Studying Health System Change (HSC). The study was ...

State Benefit Mandates and National Health Reform

NIHCR Policy Analysis No. 8

While the national health reform law requires states to pay for health benefit mandates that exceed a minimum package of covered services, states' financial liability for mandates is likely to be relatively small, according to a new Policy Analysis from the nonprofit, nonpartisan National Institute for ...

Promoting Healthy Competition in Health Insurance Exchanges: Options and Trade-offs

NIHCR Policy Analysis No. 6

While federal and state policy makers face many complex decisions about the design and operation of new state-based health insurance exchanges, the overarching goal of the exchanges is straightforward—promoting healthy competition among insurers to provide better health care at lower total cost, ...

Reforming Provider Payment—The Price Side of the Equation

New England Journal of Medicine, Vol. 365, No. 14

It’s pretty basic economics: spending equals price times quantity. For some time, public health care payers, such as Medicare and Medicaid, have focused much of their cost-containment effort on constraining the prices they pay for health care services, which they set administratively. The Affordable ...

Spending to Save—ACOs and the Medicare Shared Savings Program

New England Journal of Medicine, Vol. 364, No. 22

While criticism that the government set the bar too high for accountable care organizations (ACOs) has been fast and furious, the proposed rule for the Shared Savings Program is a wake-up call that Medicare is serious about achieving better care for individuals, better health for populations and lower ...

Health Care Certificate-of-Need (CON) Laws: Policy or Politics?

NIHCR Research Brief No. 4

Originally intended to ensure access to care, maintain or improve quality, and control capital expenditures on health care services and facilities, the certificate-of-need (CON) process has evolved into an arena where providers often battle for service-line dominance and market share, according to a ...

Ginsburg Testifies Before Joint Senate and House Committees in Maryland on Hospital Rate Setting

Testimony

Paul B. Ginsburg, Ph.D., HSC President and research director of the National Institute for Health Care Reform, testified before a joint hearing of the Maryland Senate Finance Committee and House Health and Government Operations Committee on hospital rate setting.

Ginsburg Testifies Before the Massachusetts Division of Health Care Finance and Policy

Paul B. Ginsburg, Ph.D., HSC president and research director of the National Institute for Health Care Reform, testified before the Massachusetts Office of Health and Human Services, Division of Health Care Finance and Policy, on health care spending trends.

Episode-Based Payments: Charting a Course for Health Care Payment Reform

NIHCR Policy Analysis No. 1

As consensus grows that true reform of the U.S. health care system requires a move away from fee-for-service payments, designing alternative payment methods, including episode-based payments, has emerged as a high priority for policy makers.
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The National Institute for Health Care Reform (NIHCR) contracted with the Center for Studying Health System Change (HSC) between 2009 and 2013 to conduct health policy research and analyses to improve the organization, financing and delivery of health care in the United States. HSC ceased operations on Dec. 31, 2013, after merging with Mathematica Policy Research, which assumed the HSC contract to complete NIHCR projects.