NHC Policy Proposals for Reducing Health Care Costs

The National Health Council (NHC) envisions a society in which all people have access to quality health care that respects personal goals and aspirations and is designed around the patient experience to promote their best possible health outcomes. One of the biggest barriers to access is the rising cost of care, especially for the more than 160 million Americans with chronic diseases and disabilities.

That is why in the fall of 2016, the NHC's Board of Directors began to analyze current policies and proposals designed to curb health care costs. The NHC evaluated nearly 200 proposals intended to address health care costs broadly, including drug prices. NHC does not support policies that achieve savings if they negatively impact patient safety, quality or access to care.

First and foremost, any effort designed to reduce health care costs must be predicated on value. Over the course of the last several years, we have seen a growing interest in and debate around defining value. However, many of those discussions have not adequately included patients, and value has to be defined from the patient perspective. As multi-stakeholder consensus on measuring and assessing value is achieved, we will be able to better assess cost savings and the impact of health care.

Based on the evaluation of existing policy proposals, the NHC developed a patient-centered framework with three driving principles, listed below, and 18 specific patient-centered values to guide our recommendations:
 
  • Promote high-value care;
  • Stimulate research and competition; and
  • Curb costs responsibly.

The NHC and its members identified four main policy priority areas that have the potential to reduce costs for patients and the health care system:

  • Expedite approval of generic applications and competitor products
  • Promote meaningful transparency around price and cost-sharing
  • Encourage outcomes-based contracting (OBC)
  • Facilitate the implementation of value-based insurance design (VBID)

On May 11, the Department of Health and Human Services released a blueprint entitled American Patients First, which contains many high-level policy priorities to reduce the prices of prescription medicines. The NHC submitted comments on the blueprint on July 16. Since this time, many of the high-level priorities in the blueprint have been developed into specific policies, either through efforts by the Administration or Congressional legislation. In order to help health care stakeholders keep track of the status of these policies and be able to weigh in on them, the NHC has developed a Drug Pricing Blueprint Tracker.

Additional information and details about our policy proposals related to health care costs can be found via the following links: