How State Health Care Cost Commissions Can Advance Affordability and Equity


Introduction and abstract

For many years, well being expenditures in america have risen quicker than the tempo of financial progress,1 tripling from 2000 to 2020.2 Specifically, up to now a number of years, rising costs for doctor and scientific providers and for hospital care have contributed considerably to rising spending—a sample projected to proceed via 2028.3 Whereas the expenditure progress between 2019 and 2020 was largely pushed by a surge in public well being spending because of the COVID-19 pandemic, nationwide well being expenditures elevated yearly from 1961 to 2020.4 From 2019 to 2028, well being care spending is forecast to develop at a mean of 5.4 p.c yearly—1.1 proportion factors quicker than gross home product.5

Concerningly, this enhance in spending has not include commensurate enhancements in care high quality or well being outcomes. In contrast with different Group for Financial Cooperation and Improvement nations, america spends twice the common on well being care, but ranks final general throughout 5 high quality domains: entry to care, care course of, administrative effectivity, fairness, and well being care outcomes.6 Furthermore, in america, untimely deaths, illness burden, charges of reported poor or truthful well being, weight problems charges, and maternal mortality—significantly amongst Black and Indigenous girls—have been on the rise.7

Well being care price commissions are a software states can use to handle rising well being care prices—which have partially resulted from consolidation and rising costs—and advance different well being coverage priorities associated to high quality and fairness.

Rising well being spending impacts client affordability. Greater spending interprets into increased premiums and value sharing for individuals with non-public insurance coverage. Between 2001 and 2021, premiums tripled for employer-sponsored particular person and household protection—rising at a tempo thrice quicker than wage progress. And in 2018, 40 p.c of these with employer-sponsored protection reported problem affording well being care or insurance coverage prices.8

Rising well being care spending additionally locations a fiscal burden on state governments. From 2014 to 2019, state authorities well being expenditures elevated by a mean of three.1 p.c, peaking at $607 billion in 2019.9 In fiscal 12 months 2019, well being and hospital spending was among the many high 5 expenditures in 47 states and the District of Columbia, alongside classes resembling public welfare, schooling, and highway and freeway infrastructure.10 Actually, hospital spending alone makes up almost one-third of complete well being expenditures nationally.11 Not like the federal authorities, which might function with a funds deficit, each state besides Vermont has some kind of balanced funds requirement that requires proposed and/or enacted budgets to spend not more than what’s collected in income in a given 12 months.12 The regular rise in state well being care spending constricts monetary assets for different state priorities, compromises residents’ capability to entry care, and contributes to antagonistic and inequitable well being outcomes.

Well being care price commissions are a software states can use to handle rising well being care prices—which have partially resulted from consolidation and rising costs—and advance different well being coverage priorities associated to high quality and fairness. Whereas the main points and objectives range by state, for the aim of this report, price commissions discuss with teams of specialists convened by the state to watch and attempt to management rising well being care prices. By convening specialists, setting benchmarks to reign in rising well being care expenditures, and creating alternatives to facilitate conversations with affected events, well being care price commissions leverage the state’s authority to take management of a decadeslong downside. Moreover, price commissions create a chance for states to enhance well being care high quality and advance well being fairness—all whereas limiting price progress.

A observe on the 5 state commissions highlighted on this report

Whereas 9 states have established well being care price commissions, this report examines the approaches of 5 states: Massachusetts, Delaware, Rhode Island, Oregon, and Connecticut. Massachusetts has efficiently used complete information evaluation to determine benchmarks and maintain well being programs accountable via robust enforcement incentives and has served as a blueprint for newer initiatives in different states. In the meantime, Connecticut, Delaware, Rhode Island, and Oregon have carried out newer initiatives, setting their very own methodologies for benchmarks and getting into early phases of the evaluation course of. The remaining 4 states—Washington, Nevada, New Jersey, and California—are the latest states to determine well being care price commissions.

This report discusses the design and influence of current state well being care price commissions, highlights price fee innovation, and examines the historical past and construction of price commissions in Massachusetts, Delaware, Rhode Island, Oregon, and Connecticut in larger element. It concludes with suggestions on greatest practices for states contemplating reforming or implementing price commissions, together with:

  • Construct stakeholder buy-in from authorities, payers, suppliers, hospitals, and neighborhood members.
  • Use expert-led methodology to set aggressive however possible benchmarks.
  • Create price commissions with the authority to implement benchmark objectives and maintain well being care entities accountable.
  • Prioritize high quality, affordability, and fairness.

How state well being care price commissions can enhance well being fairness whereas tackling excessive prices

A number of elements are driving up the price of care, resulting in poor high quality and well being inequities. Value commissions can each decrease spending and deal with rampant market consolidation; many states additionally goal well being inequities via prioritizing improved affordability, establishing high quality requirements and incentives, and amassing and monitoring inhabitants well being information.

Combating market consolidation

Throughout america, well being care supplier markets are consolidating as hospitals merge, purchase doctor practices, and combine to regulate a bigger suite of well being care providers.13 Research have proven that consolidation results in increased well being care costs, with hospital consolidation triggering 11 p.c to 54 p.c increased non-public insurance coverage costs within the following years and hospital possession of doctor practices in California related to 10 p.c to twenty p.c increased complete expenditures per affected person.14 Dominant well being programs can leverage their market energy to barter increased reimbursement charges from payers, driving up premiums and value sharing for customers.15

Value commissions can have the regulatory authority to confront hospital and supplier consolidation.16 Whereas some price commissions merely set requirements and objectives, different states can monitor hospital and supplier consolidation, administratively overview mergers, and restrict anti-competitive practices to protect and promote market competitors.

Value commissions can even defend customers from the harms of well being care trade consolidation through market oversight. For instance, the Massachusetts Well being Coverage Fee (HPC) displays proposed modifications to supplier affiliations, assessing the associated fee and market influence of mergers and acquisitions.17 The HPC’s market evaluation gives invaluable perception and actionable information for the state legal professional common’s workplace, which determines whether or not mergers and acquisitions can proceed.

Establishing high quality benchmarks and incentives

To handle issues that payers and suppliers could sacrifice high quality of care to scale back prices and meet goal objectives, state well being care price commissions can enact high quality benchmarks and incentives alongside price progress targets.18 For instance, along with spending benchmarks, Delaware’s Well being Care Fee established eight high quality benchmarks associated to grownup weight problems, pupil bodily exercise, tobacco use, opioid-related overdose deaths, emergency division utilization, and heart problems.19

Commissions can even make use of incentive constructions to reward suppliers for high-quality providers. In 2016, the Rhode Island Workplace of the Well being Insurance coverage Commissioner instituted high quality incentives along with affordability requirements to limit spending progress. Insurers have been required to pay incentives to hospitals and suppliers who obtain or exceed sure efficiency measures, together with these specified by the U.S. Facilities for Medicare and Medicaid Providers’ (CMS’) Hospital Worth Buying Program for Medicare.20 Preliminary outcomes point out that the state’s well being care spending slowed whereas high quality was maintained.21

Prioritizing inhabitants well being in information assortment

As states accumulate and observe information, they’ve a chance to attach reductions in price progress to enhancements in affordability and investments in high quality providers that may deal with well being inequities and enhance general inhabitants well being.

For instance, the Oregon Well being Coverage Board, the Well being Plan High quality Metrics Committee (HPQMC), and the Well being Fairness Committee work carefully collectively to determine high quality measures related to well being inequities and monitor potential impacts of the associated fee progress targets.22 The Oregon Well being Coverage Board advisable integrating fairness into its price progress goal program by focusing “price analyses on variation in utilization and value throughout populations” and sharing this info publicly.23 Specifically, the HPQMC famous the significance of monitoring “measures that immediately deal with fairness,” along with figuring out disparities.24

In Connecticut, a key part of the state’s price progress benchmark design is a suggestion to collect “social threat issue information,” largely measuring social and financial determinants of well being, and to discover the connection between these variables and well being care spending.25 On this case, Connecticut would use its all-payer claims database for its evaluation and apply its findings to “future social threat adjustment of price progress relative to the associated fee progress benchmark.”26

5 state well being care price commissions

State price commissions range of their design, oversight and enforcement authority, cost-containment technique, and general influence. This part takes a more in-depth have a look at well being care price commissions in 5 states: Massachusetts, Delaware, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Oregon. (see Determine 1)

Determine 1


In response to rising annual well being care prices, Massachusetts was the primary state within the nation to set benchmarks to restrict the expansion of personal and public well being care spending.27


In 2002, Massachusetts’ precise and projected well being care prices outpaced the expansion of the state’s financial system, together with that of wages, client costs, and per capita gross home product (GDP).28 By 2009, Massachusetts’ private well being spending—or “complete quantity spent to deal with people with particular medical situations”—throughout payers was $9,278 per capita, greater than some other state and considerably increased than the nationwide common of $6,815.29 The Massachusetts Division of Well being Care Finance and Coverage projected that, if left unrestrained, the state’s per capita well being care spending would develop by 6 p.c yearly, on observe to almost double from 2009 to 2020.30 Nevertheless, they projected that well being expenditure progress may very well be slowed to a mean of 4.2 p.c yearly if cost-containment efforts efficiently restricted per capita well being spending progress to GDP progress.31 From 2012—when the primary well being spending benchmark was set—to 2020, precise common per capita complete well being spending progress was 2.8 p.c; nevertheless, excluding the atypical lower in complete well being care expenditures related to the COVID-19 pandemic, common spending progress was 3.6 p.c from 2012 to 2019.32

In 2012, the state legislature sought to institute price progress benchmarks and set up an enforcement company, the Massachusetts Well being Coverage Fee. Initially, former Gov. Deval Patrick (D) opposed the creation of a separate company to supervise price controls, however legislators insisted that an impartial company with secure funding not reliant on budgetary appropriations is important for long-term progress.33 After preliminary opposition, hospital and insurance coverage trade stakeholders targeted on how the benchmark can be set, somewhat than disputing benchmarking itself.34 Some specialists counsel that trade leaders finally agreed to benchmarking with no combat as a result of the benchmark didn’t have an effect on current costs however somewhat curbed future worth progress.35 On the time of the laws’s enactment in August 2012, some hospital leaders felt they wanted extra time to grasp the influence of the laws.36 Others have been extra constructive: Whereas Daniel P. Moen, president and CEO of the Sisters of Windfall Well being System, had reservations in regards to the state’s potential to overregulate, he mentioned he felt the benchmark set essential requirements for reaching decrease prices.37

Implementation and influence

Because the 11-member, nonpartisan impartial authorities company charged with making well being care extra inexpensive for customers, the Massachusetts HPC calculates and enforces the annual statewide benchmark for well being care price progress.38 The benchmark is tied to the potential gross state product, aspiring to restrict the share of the state financial system devoted to well being spending.39 The benchmark is a goal measure of progress of complete well being care expenditures, which incorporates all medical bills paid to non-public and public payers; all affected person cost-sharing; and the online price of personal insurance coverage.40 Whole well being care expenditures are calculated on a per capita foundation to account for modifications in inhabitants measurement.

From 2013 to 2017, the benchmark was set to the expansion charge of potential gross state product (PGSP), or 3.6 p.c.41 (see Desk 1) From 2018 to 2022, the benchmark is the same as the PGSP minus 0.5 p.c, which equaled 3.1 p.c in 2018.42 For 2023, the HPC decided that the benchmark will revert to the unique 3.6 p.c PGSP measure, which the HPC can modify for future years.43

Desk 1

Beneath its enforcement authority, the Massachusetts HPC can require entities and suppliers that exceed the benchmark to submit a efficiency enchancment plan (PIP) figuring out the elements that led to price progress and detailing cost-saving measures they plan to implement within the following 18 months.44 The HPC displays the entity through the 18-month implementation and may impose a high quality of as much as $500,000 within the case of willful noncompliance.45 In January 2022, the HPC exercised its enforcement energy for the primary time, requiring the state’s largest built-in well being system and personal employer, Mass Common Brigham (MGB), to submit a PIP. The HPC famous that MGB’s 2014 to 2019 cumulative business spending of $293 million was the very best amongst all of the state’s suppliers, exceeded the established benchmark, and hampered the state’s capability to satisfy the benchmark.46 As well as, the HPC asserted that MGB’s proposed growth of 560 hospital beds and three complete ambulatory care facilities would enhance business prices by $90 million per 12 months.47 In its PIP, MGB dedicated to lowering well being care spending by $70 million per 12 months by lowering utilization, shifting care to lower-cost websites, and increasing value-based care.48

From 2012 to 2019, the state’s annual complete well being care expenditures met the benchmark for 3 years and exceeded it for 4 years.49 Regardless of not assembly the benchmark yearly, well being care spending progress within the state has moderated, rising at a mean annual charge of three.59 p.c, remaining at or under nationwide progress charges.50 To maintain and additional this progress, the Massachusetts HPC is asking on the state legislature to help in:51

  • Strengthening accountability by rising the monetary penalties for entities that spend above the benchmark
  • Addressing supplier costs by establishing worth caps for highest-priced suppliers and limiting facility charges
  • Setting affordability targets and requirements for business insurers
Classes discovered

With its revolutionary strategy and early adoption and success, the Massachusetts HPC has served as a blueprint, providing insights and classes discovered for different jurisdictions. For instance, the Massachusetts expertise demonstrates the significance of making an impartial price fee that’s not beholden to budgetary appropriations to make sure longevity of the fee all through modifications in state management. Moreover, it’s important {that a} fee set an inexpensive benchmark progress goal. Setting an attainable benchmark helps garner bipartisan help, limits trade opposition, and—with most entities in a position to obtain spending progress targets—motivates entities to succeed and keep away from public scrutiny.


Delaware was the second state to implement well being care spending benchmarks through price fee. Delaware’s program design was knowledgeable by Massachusetts’ experiences, and the state rounded out its objectives by establishing well being care high quality benchmarks.


In 2014, Delaware had the third-highest per capita complete well being care expenditures.52 From 1991 to 2020, Delaware’s private well being care spending elevated by a mean of 6.7 p.c per 12 months.53 By 2016, well being care prices accounted for 25 p.c of the state funds and have been rising quicker than different spending areas.54 The next 12 months, the legislature approved and directed the Delaware secretary for well being and social providers to develop a method to sluggish well being care price progress whereas additionally enhancing well being outcomes.55 In February 2018, Gov. John Carney (D) signed Govt Order (EO) 19, which convened an advisory group of stakeholders to debate the event of well being care price progress benchmarks.56

The Delaware Healthcare Affiliation, expressing the issues of leaders of each hospital in Delaware, emphatically opposed the benchmark plan.57 The affiliation known as for a “elementary reset” of the method and expressed concern that benchmarking would set a spending cap that impedes entry to hospital care.58 In response to the letter, Gov. Carney’s workplace cited the 20 city halls and spherical tables with small companies performed by the state, emphasizing Delawareans’ issues about the price of well being care.59 Some hospital representatives later walked again their feedback, declaring an “optimistic outlook” about the associated fee fee program.60

Following advisory group and stakeholder suggestions, in November 2018, Gov. Carney signed EO 25, which established Delaware’s heath care price progress and high quality benchmarks.61 The primary spending benchmark turned efficient on January 1, 2019.62

Implementation and influence

The Delaware Well being Care Fee (DHCC) and the Delaware Financial and Monetary Advisory Council (DEFAC) are the important thing entities concerned in benchmarking.63 Annually, the DEFAC critiques the benchmarking methodology to find out if the group should make modifications to the annual benchmark and solicits enter from stakeholders. Within the case of methodology modifications, DEFAC should report these updates to the governor and DHCC by Could 31 of the 12 months earlier than a revised benchmark takes impact. The brand new worth have to be shared with the general public by July 1 of the identical 12 months. The DHCC collects information and reviews statewide efficiency relative to the benchmark, in addition to efficiency by insurance coverage market phase, particular person giant payer and supplier, and well being care service class.64

The state calculated the benchmark utilizing market changes that lower over time: The benchmark was set at 3.8 p.c in 2019, 3.5 p.c in 2020, 3.25 p.c in 2021, and three p.c in 2022 and 2023, a price with no extra market adjustment.65 Whole well being care expenditure is measured as the entire medical expenditures throughout payers, which refers to all well being care spending by or on behalf of Delaware residents for well being care providers, plus insurers’ web price of personal medical insurance.66 Along with price benchmarks, Delaware adopted eight well being standing and well being care high quality measures for 2019–2022 with benchmarks by payer.67 These metrics embody emergency division utilization, opioid-related overdose deaths, weight problems, tobacco use, and bodily exercise.68

In 2019, Delaware didn’t meet its 3.8 p.c benchmark. Well being care spending grew at a charge of 5.8 p.c, and the state met solely two high quality measure benchmarks: use of opioids at excessive dosages and statin remedy for sufferers with heart problems.69 In 2020, nevertheless, whereas the COVID-19 pandemic altered well being care utilization in unprecedented methods, per capita complete well being care expenditures decreased by 1.2 p.c over the prior 12 months.70 Outcomes from the standard measures that 12 months have been blended: The state once more met its high quality benchmarks to be used of opioids at excessive dosages and statin remedy for sufferers with heart problems, plus persistence of beta-blocker remedy after a coronary heart assault for business payers however not for Medicaid.71

One problem for Delaware because it strives to realize its spending and high quality benchmarks is that state officers can’t implement the benchmarks via incentives, penalties, or different regulatory levers.72 The DHSS describes its “sole levers to realize our goal” as “public dialogue and engagement with customers, legislators, and employers round well being care price and high quality,” in addition to elevated transparency.73

Classes discovered

Delaware didn’t meet its first-year price progress benchmark, and its high quality benchmarks outcomes have been blended. With out enforcement authority to carry well being care entities accountable, the state has restricted choices to immediate enhancements on these measures. Different states ought to monitor Delaware’s progress to find out if extra methods, resembling Massachusetts’s PIP and fines strategy, may make benchmarking more practical.

Rhode Island

For greater than a decade, Rhode Island’s Workplace of the Well being Insurance coverage Commissioner (OHIC) has performed insurance coverage charge critiques, permitting the state to manage and management hospital prices.74 Laws in 2004 created the medical insurance commissioner place and charged the workplace with making medical insurance extra accessible, of upper high quality, and extra inexpensive.75 (see Determine 2) Importantly, the OHIC has the authority to supervise, overview, and approve charges within the particular person, small-group, and totally insured large-group markets.76 In 2010, the Rhode Island Well being Insurance coverage Advisory Council established a set of requirements and priorities, which included prioritizing major care, adopting patient-centered medical dwelling fashions, supporting the state’s well being info trade, and transitioning towards fee reform.77 Beneath these requirements, the commissioner required insurers to restrict the common annual worth will increase for hospital providers to CMS’ hospital worth index plus 1 p.c, and in 2016, the commissioner up to date this system to make use of the buyer worth index plus 1 p.c.78 From 2010 to 2016, these affordability requirements resulted in a mean of $55 per enrollee per quarter in decreased expenditures.79

Constructing on a historical past of insurance coverage charge overview and limitations of hospital worth will increase, Rhode Island’s spending progress benchmark extends its cost-containment efforts to statewide spending price progress.80 Rhode Island took a novel strategy to benchmarking: In 2019, it entered a public-private partnership to develop a cost-containment technique and deal with complete well being care spending.


Regardless of having one of many highest protection charges within the nation in addition to a number of the lowest premiums, Rhode Island’s per capita well being care spending was $2,890 in 2018, the eighth-highest within the nation.81 In 2018, with funding from the Peterson Middle on Healthcare, Rhode Island established the Well being Care Value Developments Venture, a public-private partnership among the many governor’s workplace, the OHIC, the Govt Workplace of Well being and Human Providers (EOHHS), and Brown College’s Faculty of Public Well being.82 The challenge established the Well being Care Value Developments Steering Committee, leveraging the experience of state officers, enterprise and neighborhood leaders, well being care trade gamers, and supplier stakeholders to handle complete well being care spending within the state. After 4 months of study and value progress technique improvement, the committee launched a “Compact to Cut back the Progress in Well being Care Prices and Well being Care Spending in Rhode Island.”83 The compact features a suggestion for the state to set a price progress goal equal to the projected progress in potential gross state product—a charge of three.2 p.c.84

Moreover, as a result of the steering committee was made up of numerous stakeholders—together with payer, supplier, and neighborhood representatives—it not solely set the benchmark but additionally dedicated its members and the organizations they characterize to “make their greatest efforts to constrain well being care spending to that concentrate on.”85 In February 2019, Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) codified the steering committee’s suggestions in Govt Order 19-03, formally setting the three.2 p.c annual benchmark.86 The EO directed OHIC and EOHHS to conduct reviews, publish a technical guide with methodology for calculating the goal, and implement the associated fee progress goal technique.87

Determine 2

Implementation and influence

In 2019, Rhode Island’s per capita complete well being care expenditure grew 4.1 p.c, exceeding the three.2 p.c goal.88 Though the pandemic could have performed a job in expenditure reductions, in 2020, Rhode Island’s well being care spending decreased by 2.9 p.c, with the biggest per capita lower occurring in Medicaid (6.1 p.c) and Medicare (5 p.c).89 Evaluation by the OHIC discovered that retail pharmacy spending is the biggest price progress driver throughout market segments and a risk to the state’s future price progress goal attainment.90 In 2022, to additional cut back price progress and enhance high quality, the state created the Well being Spending Accountability and Transparency Program, and the steering committee launched the “Compact to Speed up Superior Worth-Primarily based Fee Mannequin Adoption.”91

Classes discovered

Participating an impartial committee of stakeholders—together with hospitals, insurers, authorities officers, and suppliers—all through the event of benchmarks improves stakeholder buy-in.92 Particularly, these stakeholders each signed off on setting the benchmark charges and dedicated their organizations to attempt to obtain the associated fee progress targets. States excited about cost-containment efforts could need to think about together with a various vary of stakeholders early within the course of to create a collaborative and voluntary strategy that feels achievable to all main stakeholders.


Oregon utilized its expertise setting progress targets for its Medicaid program to comprise rising prices within the non-public market. In 2012, CMS accepted an modification and extension of Oregon’s Part 1115 Medicaid waiver, which allowed the state to start remodeling its well being program towards a collaborative care mannequin.93 The state renewed an up to date model of the waiver in 2017, and in anticipation of the waiver’s expiry, submitted a renewal software in February 2022 that might lengthen via 2027.94 A key ingredient of the state’s well being care system transformation was setting a price progress goal for Medicaid and state worker well being plans, which is at present set at 3.4 p.c.


In Oregon, from 2013 to 2021, employer-sponsored insurance coverage premiums for single protection grew by 36 p.c, and in 2021, Oregonians had the fifth-highest single protection deductibles within the nation.95 Following a Job Pressure on Well being Care Value Assessment, created by Oregon S.B. 419 of 2017, suggestion to determine “an annual well being care price progress benchmark for all payers and supplier sorts,” S.B. 889 of 2018 established the Well being Care Value Progress Benchmark Implementation Committee to design methodology for and set the preliminary benchmark and make suggestions for implementation.96 In response to an interview performed by Manatt Well being, as a result of Oregon has demonstrated benchmarking success for state well being packages, stakeholders—together with suppliers, insurers, and state officers—have been largely supportive of increasing benchmarking to a broader market.97 Moreover, suppliers and insurers expressed enthusiasm for extending value-based buying into the business market.98

Following process pressure suggestions, in 2019, the state legislature handed S.B. 889, which established the Sustainable Well being Care Value Progress Goal Program and approved the formation of the Well being Care Value Progress Benchmark Implementation Committee to develop price progress benchmarking to the broader well being care market.99 The Oregon Well being Authority (OHA), Oregon Division of Shopper and Enterprise Providers (DCBS), and Oregon Well being Coverage Board (OHPB) oversee the committee and the benchmarking program. Moreover, OHPB is liable for internet hosting and convening annual public hearings.100

Implementation and influence

The implementation committee consists of 18 members appointed by the governor representing customers, suppliers, payers, well being programs, and specialists.101 The committee launched its suggestions in January 2021 and known as for the OHA to convene a technical advisory group open to stakeholders to finalize data-collection strategies and conduct additional technical evaluation.102 The Value Progress Goal Technical Advisory Group first launched in February 2021.103 The implementation committee, which was set to sundown in January 2022, advisable the formation of a brand new committee of “well being care payers and suppliers, enterprise/employer representatives, in addition to client representatives” to supervise, monitor, and overview the Well being Care Value Progress Goal Program on an ongoing foundation.104

The Oregon Well being Care Value Progress Benchmark program is modeled after the Massachusetts HPC.105 The Oregon program equally units and critiques benchmarks primarily based on financial indicators; requires well being care entities to submit information; publishes annual reviews describing price drivers and proposing suggestions; holds public hearings; and should require entities that exceed the benchmark to submit a PIP.106

Slightly than create a brand new company such because the Massachusetts HPC, the Oregon program depends on current businesses: the OHA and the DCBS for administration and the OHPB for coverage oversight.107 The laws that approved the Oregon program leaves lots of the particulars as much as the implementation committee.108 The one measure that requires extra legislative overview is figuring out the enforcement mechanisms for entities that exceed the benchmark.109 The Oregon program additionally encourages value-based fee fashions via a voluntary compact of payers and suppliers.110 By September 2021, payers and suppliers protecting 73 p.c of Oregonians had signed on to the compact.111

In its 2021 suggestions, the implementation committee advisable a 3.4 p.c annual per capita price progress goal for 2021–2025 and a decrease 3 p.c goal for 2026–2030. Like Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Delaware, Oregon set its targets aiming for extra formidable slowdown in later years.112 In 2024, the “successor committee” will overview per capita gross state product and median wage tendencies for the previous 20 years to find out if the 2026–2030 goal is suitable.113 The goal shall be measured on the state, market, payer, and supplier group ranges. The implementation committee additionally advisable that the HPQMC determine high quality metrics to incorporate within the Well being Care Value Progress Goal Program and work with the OHA, OHPB, and the Well being Fairness Committee to develop a plan and monitor unintended penalties.114 The implementation committee instructed fairness and disparities; prevention and early detection; and acute, episodic, and procedural care as potential focus areas.115

Classes discovered

Oregon reviewed current price progress goal packages and decided which components have been most applicable for the state. It additionally performed a radical overview of packages in different states and determined that many components of the Massachusetts program can be relevant, whereas together with distinctive components that construct on the state’s current strengths and tweaks to suit the state’s political local weather.


Because the fifth state to implement a statewide price progress benchmark, Connecticut seeks to regulate well being care prices and enhance high quality. Connecticut’s strategy, laid out by govt order, units high quality targets to extend major care spending and meet a number of high quality benchmarks, along with its price progress benchmark.116 Critically, Connecticut’s benchmarking initiative consists of clear reporting, damaged down by payer, insurance coverage market, and enormous supplier entity and goals to use social threat issue information to spending analyses.117


From 2005 to 2020, well being care prices in Connecticut rose by 77 p.c whereas the median wage rose by 21 p.c.118 In January 2020, with the intention to deal with entry, affordability, well being disparities, and rising prices, Gov. Ned Lamont (D) signed an govt order directing the Workplace of Well being Technique (OHS) to determine a benchmark charge of price progress.119 The OHS fashioned each a technical workforce of state authorities staff and different specialists, in addition to a stakeholder advisory board (SAB) meant to characterize “a cross part of the well being care panorama, customers, suppliers, employers, and well being plan carriers.”120 Victoria Veltri, govt director of the OHS, famous that the governor and the legislature labored carefully along with bipartisan help to determine a benchmark by EO, a press release echoed by a state senator.121 Leaders of the State Senate Insurance coverage and Actual Property Committee spoke out in help of the EO: Sen. Kevin Kelly (R), rating member of the Insurance coverage and Actual Property Committee, praised the governor’s work, expressed confidence within the efficacy of benchmarking, and emphasised the significance of controlling well being care price progress.122 Per the EO, the technical workforce recommends annual price progress benchmarks and first care spending targets every year; the SAB weighs in on these selections and seeks extra enter from different entities; and OHS establishes a benchmark charge of price progress.123

Implementation and influence

The technical workforce advisable a price progress benchmark primarily based on “a 20/80 weighting on the expansion in CT Potential Gross State Product and progress CT Median Revenue.”124 For 2020, the benchmark was the bottom worth (2.9 p.c) plus 0.5 p.c for a complete of three.4 p.c.125 In 2022, the benchmark was lowered to the bottom worth plus 0.3 p.c, or 3.2 p.c. From 2023 to 2025, the state will set the benchmark on the base worth—2.9 p.c.126

Gov. Lamont’s EO laid out two high quality goal priorities: first, set targets to realize elevated major care spending at 10 p.c complete well being care expenditures by 2025, and second, develop well being care high quality benchmarks for all payers starting in 2022, “together with scientific high quality, over/below utilization and affected person security measures.”127 On the time of the chief order, Connecticut was among the many states with the bottom major care spending as a proportion of complete well being care expenditures, estimated to be 4.8 p.c of complete well being care expenditures.128 The first care spending goal for 2021 is 5 p.c, an admittedly conservative aim in response to the OHS.129 The OHS calculates statewide major care spending as a weighted common of every insurance coverage market’s major care spending, accounting for complete market share.130

Classes discovered

Along with extra conventional cost-containment objectives, Connecticut’s strategy integrates high quality metrics and first care spending targets. By setting targets each for decrease complete well being spending and elevated major care spending, Connecticut incentivizes using high-value care with larger major care use and presumably much less dependence on costly hospital and specialist care.

Determine 3

Value fee design concerns

The 5 case research in Massachusetts, Delaware, Rhode Island, Oregon, and Connecticut present essential examples and classes in price fee design, benchmark setting, and high quality initiatives. States which might be at present exploring price commissions to handle well being care prices—together with Minnesota131 and Pennsylvania132—have a number of efficient choices to contemplate. As states pursue commissions and value progress benchmark packages, decision-makers ought to think about the next design components to enhance effectiveness:

  • Stakeholder buy-in. Relying on state statutes and political feasibility, state policymakers should construct help amongst related stakeholders to allow the state authorities to implement benchmarking and value containment. The formation of an impartial physique of specialists and stakeholders that decide, set, and overview targets is vital to creating initiatives with achievable benchmarks and buy-in. Ideally, with the intention to promote long-term sustainability, these our bodies ought to have constant funding that doesn’t rely upon extra legislative motion.
  • Setting benchmarks. The states highlighted on this report created boards or committees of specialists to find out benchmark methodology and create infrastructure for monitoring, overview, and implementing modifications as wanted. Almost the entire featured states set benchmarks that get extra aggressive over time, because the well being care entities liable for slowing price progress and assembly high quality metrics develop the initiatives and infrastructure they should make progress.
  • Enforcement authority. Of the states featured, solely Massachusetts and Oregon have enforcement mechanisms for entities that don’t meet benchmark objectives. Worry of fines, PIPs, and public data about their elevated spending helps incentivize well being care entities to place of their greatest effort to satisfy targets and take these initiatives significantly.
  • High quality, affordability, and fairness. Along with setting price progress targets, many featured states additionally set metrics for high quality, affordability, and fairness. Monitoring modifications in high quality and entry measures will help avert cost-saving efforts that cut back high quality somewhat than streamlining effectivity. The complementary nature of the targets additional demonstrates that price containment might be aligned with enhancements in high quality and entry. For instance, one among Rhode Island and Connecticut’s high quality targets is to extend spending on major care, which might provide preventive providers that enhance inhabitants well being and reduce costly emergency division visits.133

As states search to handle excessive well being care spending and well being inequities, establishing price commissions might be an efficient selection. states should adapt these packages to satisfy their regulatory capability and programmatic objectives. Critically, these states can apply essential classes discovered in Massachusetts, Delaware, Rhode Island, Oregon, and Connecticut to growing related initiatives.


Amid excessive well being care prices that proceed to soar, state initiatives to create price commissions and benchmarking packages that search to comprise prices and enhance high quality can play an essential position. Whereas price commissions primarily set a goal that limits price progress and promotes high quality enchancment, the benchmarking course of can safe commitments from stakeholders to attempt to reign in price progress. For instance, specialists report that in Massachusetts the associated fee progress goal has grow to be built-in within the well being system and helps information negotiations.134 Along with containing prices, benchmarking may also be useful in enhancing transparency, selling major care, and transitioning to value-based fee preparations.135

Whereas states have taken distinctive approaches and are at varied phases of implementation, these case research present examples and classes that could be helpful to states seeking to constrain price progress, enhance high quality and affordability, and deal with fairness issues.