In the holy grail of cost containment, I’ve always thought that there isn’t one “silver bullet,” but there is a list of policy reforms (here’s the Health Access one-pager) that can each bring down health costs somewhat, but that taken together, the savings over the long term could be significant.
Some of these reforms are ingrained in comprehensive health reforms: the negotiating power of large purchasing pools, the global budgeting of a single-payer system, or just the preventative aspect of getting everybody insured, and the reduction of the “hidden tax” of having the uninsured. Other elements, such as rate regulation, information technology, transparency of cost and quality, or encouragement of “best practices”, are proposals that can be stand-alone, or part of broader reforms.
Joe Paduda at Managed Care Matters seems to have a similar philosophy on cost containment, and a similar list. In his post, he also goes through each idea, how Obama and Clinton fare in their proposals, how effective he thinks each strategy would be.
It’s a pretty good and fair assessment, even if I might quibble on details. There are real cost containment elements in the Obama and Clinton plans: none are silver bullets, but together they can make a real difference.