In February of this year, two letters went out to Congress imploring lawmakers to take definitive steps towards reducing health care costs. Both letters shared a focus on value-based care.

Ilyse Schuman, senior vice president of health policy at the American Benefits Council, urged Congress in a February 27 letter to "take bold steps to address the root causes of rising costs (including market consolidation, lack of competition, price and quality transparency and the prevalence of chronic conditions) and promote value-based payments." The letter goes on to state that "efforts by employers to pursue innovative strategies that improve the value of health care are hampered by inconsistent and incomplete quality metrics. Some employers are already providing quality reporting, or others are working toward that goal, but challenges remain. Federal programs can spur these efforts by adopting uniform measures across federal programs. Congress can promote consensus measures of value to incentivize value-based payments."

Meanwhile, a letter sent earlier in the month by a dozen leading U.S. health care organizations—including the American Medical Association, the Health Care Transformation Task Force and the American College of Physicians—stressed that value-based payment reforms have generated "more than $17 billion in gross savings" for Medicare over the past decade and improved the quality of care for millions of patients. "As you consider your priorities for the 118th Congress, we ask that you continue to advance the transition to value-based health care," the letter states.

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Richard Binder

Richard Binder, based in New York, is part of the social media team at ALM. He is also a 2014 recipient of the ASPBE Award for Excellence in the Humorous/Fun Department.