Fuse Brown Delivers Keynote to National Academy of State Health Policy
In October, Erin C. Fuse Brown delivered the keynote address to open the 28th annual conference of the National Academy of State Health Policy (NASHP). The conference is the annual gathering of health policymakers with over 800 attendees from all 50 states, the federal government, the private sector, and non-governmental organizations doing health research or policy analysis.
Fuse Brown’s presentation was titled, “The Double-Edged Sword of Health Care Integration: Consolidation and Cost Control.” She framed the issue of how integration in health care has benefits in terms of quality and care coordination, but it also poses risks of market consolidation and rising prices. The presentation highlighted the central role of states to control health care costs in their own markets and outlined five different policy approaches states can take to address vertical integration’s risks to competition. “To address the rising prices from health care integration, there are many oversight models for states to choose from, but whatever they choose, states need to start with an All-Payer Claims Database because you need data to do this oversight.”
“It is important to me for my research to be policy-relevant, so it was an honor and fantastic opportunity to present to a room full of health policymakers from all over the country,” Fuse Brown said. The presentation was well received by attendees on Twitter.
The presentation is based on a project Fuse Brown is working on with Jaime S. King at UC Hastings College of Law on vertical health care integration. Fuse Brown and King also presented their work in November at Harvard Law School and at Yale Law School’s conference on “The New Health Care Industry: Integration, Consolidation, Competition in the Wake of the Affordable Care Act.” Throughout the fall, Fuse Brown also presented her research on vertical integration to health policymakers and state legislators in Georgia.
Fuse Brown’s main conclusions are that if we are going to bend the health care cost curve, we must focus on both reducing overtreatment and constraining rising prices. The way to reap the benefits and manage the risks of health care integration is to encourage beneficial integration, but pair it with oversight on price and quality. She says, “States have a variety of oversight models to choose from, and each has challenges, but states must do something if we are to bend the health care cost curve.”