Filed on Fleet Street

I have an op-ed in today’s Financial Times about health care reform.

Readers of this blog are familiar with my argument: Our fiscal future is so dominated by health care that if we can slow the rate of cost growth by just 15 basis points a year (0.15 percentage points), the savings for Medicare and Medicaid would equal the impact from eliminating Social Security’s entire 75-year shortfall.

While some critics have worried about how the Administration will pay for health reform, it’s been pointed out quite ably (here and here) that the President is committed to deficit neutrality and that those concerned about fiscal discipline should support this effort (as the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget did in their statement issued after the President’s speech). As Congress works on legislation, we will work with members from both sides of the aisle to make sure that health care reform is deficit neutral.

But we also need to go beyond deficit neutrality (based on CBO scoring), and adopt those changes to the health care system that – regardless of whether they score – are crucial to making best practices medicine more universal throughout our system, rather than occurring only in some geographic areas and hospitals. Such best practices offer the potential for a combination of higher quality and lower cost over time than today’s system.

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