Dr. Mark McClellan is in the unusual position of having served in the administrations of both Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. In the latter, the physician and economist served as head of Medicare. Now, he works at the Brookings Institution in Washington on health issues. The son of Carole Keeton Strayhorn, this University of Texas graduate likewise is working alongside Republican Bob Dole, Democrat Tom Daschle and others to develop a bipartisan consensus on health reform. He shared his ideas with Points last week.
If you were writing Congress’ bill, how would you control health costs?
We should change how we pay for services so there is more focus on paying for better results at lower costs. Right now, we emphasize providing more services.
There are good ways to change payments. We could give physicians additional payments if they take steps to get better outcomes. This would encourage use of electronic records and nurse practitioners to help prevent diseases and complications.