Webcast: Why are Healthcare Prices So High, and What can be Done about Them?

Nearly a fifth of the United States’ economy goes to healthcare spending – a far larger share than in any other large, wealthy country in the world. Research suggests that price, rather than the volume of services, is the main driver of this disparity, and price is also a primary factor in pushing up the nation’s health spending over time.

On May 9, 2018 the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Peterson Center on Healthcare held a forum focused on healthcare prices. Experts in healthcare economics, delivery, and policy discussed the reasons behind high prices and variation, how other countries address healthcare prices, and practical strategies in the U.S. At the forum, two new analyses were released examined variations in prices in employer plans over time and by geography as well as healthcare prices and utilization in the U.S. compared to other countries.

KFF Senior Vice President for Health Reform Larry Levitt moderated the discussion, and Peterson Center on Healthcare Executive Director Jay Want, MD, and KFF Vice President Gary Claxton gave opening and framing remarks. Below are the agenda and videos from the event:

            Welcome and opening remarks

  • Larry Levitt, Senior Vice President for Health Reform, Kaiser Family Foundation
  • Jay Want, MD, Executive Director, Peterson Center on Healthcare
  • Gary Claxton, Vice President, Kaiser Family Foundation

            Panel Discussion 1: How do other countries address healthcare prices?

  • Gerard Anderson, Professor of Health Policy and Management and Professor of International Health, Johns Hopkins University
  • Patricia Danzon, Professor of Health Care Management, Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania
  • Robin Osborn, Vice President and Director of the International Program in Health Policy and Practice Innovations, Commonwealth Fund
  • Cynthia Cox (moderator), Director of the Program for the Study of Health Reform and Private Insurance, Kaiser Family Foundation

            Panel Discussion 2: What are practical strategies for addressing healthcare prices in the U.S?

  • Jenny Bryant, Senior Vice President of Policy and Research, PhRMA
  • Martin S. Gaynor, Professor of Economics and Health Policy, Carnegie Mellon University
  • Kris Haltmeyer, Vice President for Health Policy and Analysis, Blue Cross Blue Shield Association
  • Melinda Hatton, General Counsel, American Hospital Association
  • Robert Murray, former Executive Director of the Maryland Health Services Cost Review Commission
  • Larry Levitt (moderator), Kaiser Family Foundation

           Reaction and closing remarks

  • James C. Capretta, Resident Fellow, American Enterprise Institute
  • Lawrence Brown, Professor of Health Policy and Management, Columbia University
  • Larry Levitt (moderator), Kaiser Family Foundation


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