Are U.S. Health Care Prices Too High, Too Low, or Some Mix of the Two?

External actions for this article

In light of the major financial burden that health care places on many households and the limited competition in many health care markets, some policymakers and experts have called for governments to play a larger role in determining the prices of health care services, such as by regulating those prices or introducing a public option. The late Uwe Reinhardt wrote and spoke for many years in support of a larger role for the public sector in determining health care prices.

On September 9, the USC-Brookings Schaeffer Initiative for Health Policy will, in honor of Uwe’s work, host the first of three webinars examining whether a larger public role is appropriate. During this first webinar, a panel of experts will review evidence commonly used to assess the prices paid by privately insured Americans, including cross-country comparisons, cross-region comparisons within the United States, and comparisons of the prices paid by public and private payers. Panelists will discuss what this evidence says about where prices are too high or too low and how policymakers might respond.

The event will also feature introductory remarks that will place the full webinar series in the context of Uwe’s long work on this topic. The event will open with Leonard Schaeffer, USC Sol Price School of Public Policy professor and Judge Robert Maclay Widney chair, who knew Uwe well over a long period, followed by Richard Besser, the president of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Tsung-Mei-Cheng, Uwe’s widow, who in recent years has written about initiatives in Germany and Taiwan to constrain health care prices, will speak about Uwe’s thinking on these issues.

Viewers can submit question for panelists by emailing events@brookings.edu or via Twitter with #HealthCarePrices.

RSVP is required.

Event Date
Wednesday, September 09, 2020
11:00 AM - 12:40 PM Pacific
Location

Remarks

Paul B. Ginsburg, Director, USC-Brookings Schaeffer Initiative for Health Policy; Leonard D. Schaeffer Chair in Health Policy Studies and Senior Fellow, Economic Studies, The Brookings Institution
Leonard D. Schaeffer, Judge Robert Maclay Widney Chair and Professor, USC Sol Price School of Public Policy; Vice Chair, Board of Trustees, The Brookings Institution; Trustee, University of Southern California
Richard E. Besser, President and CEO, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Tsung-Mei-Cheng, Health Policy Research Analyst, Princeton School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University

Panel

This panel will review evidence commonly used to assess the prices that privately insured Americans pay for health care services, including cross-country comparisons, cross-regional comparisons within the United States, and comparisons of the prices paid by public and private payers. Panelists will discuss the strengths and weakness of each type of evidence, as well as what this evidence can tell us about where price are too high or too low and how policymakers might respond.

Melinda Buntin, Mike Curb Professor and Chair, Department of Health Policy, Vanderbilt University Medical Center
Amitabh Chandra, Ethel Zimmerman Wiener Professor of Public Policy and Director of Health Policy Research, Harvard Kennedy School; Henry and Allison McCance Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School
Michael Chernew, Leonard D. Schaeffer Professor of Health Care Policy and Director of the Healthcare Markets and Regulation Lab, Department of Health Care Policy, Harvard Medical School
Daria Pelech, Principal Analyst, Health, Retirement, and Long-Term Analysis Division, Congressional Budget Office
Moderator: Louise Sheiner, Senior Fellow and Policy Director, Hutchins Center on Fiscal and Monetary Policy, The Brookings Institution

Register Now The event you will register for is named Are U.S. Health Care Prices Too High, Too Low, or Some Mix of the Two?