Employers Have No Idea How To Control Health Costs

Kaiser Family Foundation’s Drew Altman points to polling data which finds that employers don’t believe that they have the tools necessary to effectively control health care spending. “Not more than about a quarter of employers felt any one strategy was ‘very effective,’ and they were divided on virtually every cost-containment strategy they were asked about”:

For example, 22% said consumer-driven health plans were “very effective,” and 19% said they were “not at all effective.” Similarly, 18% said tighter managed care restrictions were “very effective,” while 26% said they were “not at all effective.” The “winner” this year seems to be disease management, garnering the most employer confidence, with 26% calling it “very effective” and 19% calling it “not at all effective.” […] Many firms also offer wellness programs, and in an answer to a different question, slightly more than half think those programs help to lower costs to some degree.


Well, there goes the theory that the private market has all the answer for controlling health care spending and the belief that there is any one silver bullet (sorry GOP, tort reform alone won’t do it) for bringing down costs. The fact of the matter is, we still don’t know which strategies will stop health care from eating up a greater portion of our GDP or how best to implement them. So, moving forward, it would behoove everyone to keep all cost control options on the table and work within the existing law to experiment with ways to slow the annual growth of health care. The nation’s future depends on it.