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The Health Care Quality and Cost Council by Robert Seifert

How much can the availability and use of information alter a market? Economics says that information about price and quality is essential for markets to work. Yet health care, one of the largest markets in our economy, is notable for the lack of public information available to purchasers, providers and especially consumers of medical services.

Sustaining the coverage gains of health reform depends critically on controlling health care spending over the long term. The health reform law puts great hope in the power of information for this task by creating the Health Care Quality and Cost Council.

The Council has a clear charge, committed members and advisers, a new executive director, and an agenda still in its formative stages.

What kind of information can facilitate improvement in the quality and value of health care and health insurance? Whom should the information be for, and how should they use it? Opinions abound, even within the membership of the Council.

The Council has authority under its enacting statute that can help move us toward more effective, efficient and affordable health care in Massachusetts. The members of the Council are now facing the challenge of determining how to use that authority, and adopting a strategy of priority setting, data collection and distribution of information that can help to attain cost and quality goals for the Commonwealth.

Robert Seifert is Executive Director of the Massachusetts Medicaid Policy Institute and a member of the Health Care Quality and Cost Council

This program aired on April 9, 2007. The audio for this program is not available.

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