Skip to main content

Health Care Cost Containment Initiative

With tens of millions of Americans facing uncoordinated and expensive medical care, our health care system is performing well below its potential. This failure is a threat to the nation’s future health, economic viability, productivity, and ability to compete in an increasingly competitive global marketplace. Moreover, the nation’s growing federal deficit and debt imposes unsustainable burdens on states, employers, workers, and their families. Excessive and wasteful health care spending contributes unnecessarily and disproportionately to this burden. Addressing out-of-control health care costs is a vital component of any long term deficit reduction strategy.

Managing Costs, Preserving Care: Health Care Cost Containment Report Release April 18, 2013

Read the report l Read the press release

Co-Chairs’ Washington Post op-ed: How to build a better health-care system

View all event videos


A Bipartisan Rx for Patient-Centered Care and System-Wide Cost Containment April 18, 2013

Staff Papers

What Is Driving U.S. Health Care Spending? America’s Unsustainable Health Care Cost Growth September 20, 2012 This background paper provides a basic overview of the drivers of health care cost growth, and serves as an analytical starting point for BPC’s work on health care cost containment.

Primer: Understanding the Effect of the Supreme Court Ruling on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act August 24, 2012 This paper serves as a basic primer on the significant health care cost and coverage implications of the Supreme Court’s recent decision on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA).


The Bipartisan Policy Center’s (BPC’s) Health Care Cost Containment Initiative will produce a system-wide approach to cost containment that explores and evaluates the most promising value-based strategies that have the greatest potential for bipartisan support and political success in 2013. Through the Health Care Cost Containment Initiative, BPC has a unique opportunity to draw our four distinguished health and economic policy leaders – former Senate Majority Leaders Tom Daschle and Bill Frist, former Senator Pete Domenici and former Congressional Budget Office Director Dr. Alice Rivlin – together in a detailed set of discussions supported by quality analysis. Our goal in this endeavor is not to achieve a grand compromise, but rather to create a better substantive foundation for the ultimate political debate.

Strategic Approach

Any effort to effectively address health care cost containment must bring together both sides of the political aisle, the health policy and budget policy communities, and a broad representation of health care stakeholders. Over the next six months, BPC will review and evaluate the most promising strategies for health care cost containment and assess the financial impact of various proposals over the near and long term. We will consider a diverse array of perspectives through a series of meetings and informational forums, and produce a strategic framing for the policy and political implications of various proposals. We are optimistic that identifying areas of agreement and exploring differences will provide critical insight to the administration and Congress and help inform the broader fiscal policy debate in 2013.

Areas of Focus

The Initiative will build on the BPC’s Leaders’ Project original four “pillars” of health reform: improving the quality of care, making health insurance affordable, supporting personal responsibility, and developing a sustainable approach to health care financing. This platform will help focus our initiative to tackle the growing costs of health care while preserving the highest quality of care for all Americans and avoiding cost-shifting wherever possible. Specifically, the focus of our work may include but will not necessarily be limited to:

  • Payment reform
  • New models of care delivery
  • Prevention and disease management
  • Medicare/Medicaid delivery and design reform
  • Administrative simplification
  • State flexibility and incentives
  • Supply of professionals and services
  • Tax reform


The ultimate goal of BPC’s Health Care Cost Containment Initiative is to produce a consensus white paper that packages together a set of sound, politically viable policies that the BPC believes will constrain cost growth and enhance value throughout the health care system. We will also generate a coherent set of general principles clarifying our strategic approach to cost containment. Over the next year, BPC will build a strong and substantive knowledge base on the landscape of possible cost containment options and seek a broad array of stakeholder input. Additional deliverables resulting from the work of this initiative will include cost savings estimates that will inform the congressional debate over deficit reduction and health care cost containment and a background paper describing health care cost drivers. All of these deliverables will be developed with the support, engagement, and guidance of our four leaders.

Read Next

Support Research Like This

With your support, BPC can continue to fund important research like this by combining the best ideas from both parties to promote health, security, and opportunity for all Americans.

Give Now