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States’ Role in Reversing the Collision Course of Care and Costs

States’ Role in Reversing the Collision Course of Care and Costs

By Lindsey Browning, Senior Policy Analyst.

Many of us have seen a car accident unfold. You watch – almost in slow motion – as both cars move on a collision course, but you’re powerless to stop it. In a lot of ways, it’s like the situation we’re facing with health care cost growth in the U.S. The collision of costs and health care delivery seems inevitable.

But last week we received some good news. State-led, multi-payer innovation is beginning to reverse the trajectory of health care and ballooning cost growth.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMMI) released an independent evaluation of CMMI’s State Innovation Models (SIM) program. The SIM program, which began in 2013, is supporting 38 states in designing or testing multi-payer transformation of the health care system. The evaluation revealed that state-led, multi-payer innovation is beginning to show early signs of success for the six original SIM Model Test states.

This tells us that states have a critical role to play in leading health system transformation and bending the cost curve in the U.S. It also underscores that success is not instantaneous. It has taken time and sustained support for the original SIM Testing States to build the infrastructure for reform, such as recruiting the right personnel and creating the data systems that are the foundation for this work.

So while we can celebrate the good news from this new report, we know there’s a lot of work to be done. In particular, as Medicaid leaders regularly point out, a critical next step in these state-led innovations is to align successful state-led models with the parallel value-based innovations in Medicare. As CMMI looks towards the future of SIM, this objective should be a guiding focus in order to continue reversing the collision course of costs and high quality care.

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