Curbing Care Costs : Shots - Health News On the health care cost-cutting front, insurance giant UnitedHealth Group offers the government some $500 billion in suggestions, and HHS proposes incorporating cost on studies comparing health interventions.
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Curbing Care Costs

Health care costs continue to rise, everyone has ideas on how to curb them AMagill/Flickr hide caption

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Earlier today we brought you data on the cost of doing nothing to curb health care costs. Now we bring you ideas on how to reign in health care costs.

Two nuggets to put in the hopper today:

Much to the consternation of medical device and drug companies, HHS is proposing to consider the cost of care as part of its definition of comparative effectiveness research.

HHS received $1.1 billion in the economic stimulus package recently to develop a comparative effectiveness program that would examine different health treatments for the same condition side-by-side. It has been estimated that the program, once up and running, would save millions in health care costs by showing that, in some cases, as The New Yorker details this week, pricier care is not always better care.

In that vein, insurance giant UnitedHealth Group is offering the government a bit of advice: Act more like us and save money. Maybe even save $500 billion.

Some of their ideas include sending patients to cheaper, more efficient doctors, reducing elderly patients hospital visits, and cutting back on care that doesn't improve health.

Altruism? Nah. As the San Jose Mercury News points out:

"Like other groups with an interest in the outcome, United is also trying to position itself as a constructive voice in the debate -- and avoid becoming a target itself."