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How to lower health care costs: Competition, regulation, and administrative expenses

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Lowering health care costs and making health care markets more competitive and efficient would enable improved access to health care in the United States. Achieving these goals would also reduce the financial hardships many families face when enduring poor health, improve the quality of life for more Americans, and reduce strains on government budgets. By lowering administrative costs and strengthening health-care competition—including regulating the excessive prices that often result from a lack of competition—policymakers can play an important role in strengthening the health-care sector and driving economic growth.

On March 10, The Hamilton Project at the Brookings Institution hosted a forum exploring ways to lower health care costs through competition, regulation, and reduced administrative expenses. The forum included a research presentation by David Cutler of Harvard University.

Two panel discussions followed the fireside chat, with participants including: U.S. Federal Trade Commissioner Noah J. PhillipsAmitabh Chandra of the Harvard Kennedy School, Elizabeth Fowler of The Commonwealth Fund, Julie Appleby of Kaiser Health News, Michael E. Chernew of Harvard University Medical School, Martin Gaynor of Carnegie Mellon University, Paul Ginsburg of the Brookings Institution, and Leemore S. Dafny of Harvard Business School.

The event coincided with the release of three new Hamilton Project proposals examining policy options to reduce health care costs through price regulation, diminished administrative costs, and more competitive health-care markets.

For updates on the event, follow @HamiltonProj, and join the conversation using #HealthCareCosts.


12:30 p.m. Registration opens

1:00 p.m. Welcome and introductory remarks

Jay Shambaugh
Director, The Hamilton Project, Senior Fellow, Economic Studies, The Brookings Institution

1:10 p.m. Roundtable discussion: What is the best approach to directly regulate prices to lower health care costs?

Leemore S. Dafny
Bruce V. Rauner Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School

Michael E. Chernew
Leonard D. Schaeffer Professor of Health Care Policy, Department of Health Care Policy, Harvard University Medical School

Amitabh Chandra
Ethel Zimmerman Wiener Professor of Public Policy, Director, Health Policy Research, Harvard Kennedy School

Moderator: Julie Appleby
Senior Correspondent, Kaiser Health News

1:55 p.m. Research presentation: How to lower administrative expenses.

David Cutler
Otto Eckstein Professor of Applied Economics, Harvard University

2:10 p.m. Roundtable discussion: How can increased competition reduce health care costs?

Martin Gaynor
E. J. Barone University Professor of Economics and Public Policy, Carnegie Mellon University

Elizabeth Fowler
Executive Vice President for Programs, The Commonwealth Fund

Paul Ginsburg
Director, USC-Brookings Schaeffer Initiative for Health Policy; Leonard D. Schaeffer Chair in Health Policy Studies; Senior Fellow, Economic Studies, The Brookings Institution

Noah J. Phillips
Commissioner, U.S. Federal Trade Commission

Jay Shambaugh
Director, The Hamilton Project, Senior Fellow, Economic Studies, The Brookings Institution

3:00 p.m. Forum adjourns

Webinar Event

The Brookings Institution


Follow @hamiltonproj and see the conversation using #HealthCareCosts


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