Controlling Medicare Cost Growth through Innovations in Provider Payment and Service Delivery

Global Health Systems Series

As countries seek to improve the way their health systems function, international approaches to reform serve as an important source of lessons for achieving outcomes and avoiding pitfalls. The China Health Partnership invites leading experts to discuss the successes and failures of worldwide health systems to promote mutual learning in support of health reform efforts in China and the broader global community.

Event Description

For each of the past five decades, average annual growth of per capita health expenditures in the United States has outstripped average annual growth in per capita GDP. Federal spending on health as a percentage of GDP is only expected to continue its rapid ascent, with Medicare serving as an outsized contributor to rising costs as compared to other federal programs. Why do health care costs—especially Medicare costs—continue to balloon, and what measures are being employed to control their rate of growth? Have these efforts yielded the intended results?

Dr. Michael Chernew discussed strategies to rein in health care costs with a particular emphasis on Medicare provider payment reforms. He analyzed the extent to which specific mechanisms such as Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) have succeeded in lowering Medicare spend.

  • Speaker: Dr. Michael Chernew is the Leonard D. Schaeffer Professor of Health Care Policy and the Director of the Healthcare Markets and Regulation (HMR) Lab in the Department of Health Care Policy at Harvard Medical School. His research examines several areas related to improving the health care system including studies of novel benefit designs, Medicare Advantage, alternative payment models, low value care and the causes and consequences of rising health care spending.
  • Moderator: Dr. Winnie Yip, Professor of Global Health Policy and Economics; Director, Harvard China Health Partnership


  • A recording of the event is available here.