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 health outcomes most important to patients. One of the biggest barriers to access is the rising cost of care, especially for the more than 160 million American 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.

The NHC is committed to increasing access to sustainable, affordable, high-value care through personalized care management. We do not support policies that achieve savings if they negatively impact patient safety, quality, or access to care. The NHC updated these policies in March 2019 to reflect changes in the policy landscape since the original analysis and document were published. 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 must 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:

  • Reduce barriers for development of generic and biosimilar products, and expedite approval of certain generic applications
  • Promote meaningful transparency around price and cost-sharing
  • Encourage outcomes-based contracting (OBC)
  • Facilitate the implementation of value-based insurance design (VBID)

Read the detailed NHC Policy Proposal for Reducing Health Care Costs

On May 11, 2018, 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, 2018. 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.

NHC Chief Executive Officer Marc Boutin testified during a March 13, 2019 hearing on “Lowering the Cost of Prescription Drugs: Reducing Barriers to Market Competition" before the United States House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health. The hearing focused on seven bills designed to make it easier for generic drugs to reach the market, including the CREATES Act, FAST Generics Act, pay-for-delay ban, BLOCKING Act, the FAIR Generics Act, the Orange Book Transparency Act, and Purple Book Continuity Act. To read Boutin’s full written testimony, click here. Watch his testimony here.

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

Read more of our letters to Congress and the Administration, including those related to health care costs, here.


“Personalized Care Management” focuses on individual patients to deliver care that is of highest-value to them with minimal barriers. By fusing data and behavioral science, we can better segment patient populations to determine which specific treatment is most appropriate for an individual patient. Once appropriate treatment has been identified, patients should have access to it with low cost sharing and limited or no utilization management. Manufacturers of high-value, high-cost interventions would assume financial risk, tied to outcomes-based contracts.