Cost Containment: The Key to Accessible

Affordable, High-Quality Health Care

The medically vulnerable—for example, people with disabilities and the chronically ill—undoubtedly face unique challenges in accessing affordable, high-quality care. They often pay more for health care, lack a usual source of care, and face other access barriers like travel distance and communication difficulties.1 The National Coalition on Health Care (NCHC) emphasizes that cost containment is not about reducing benefits, limiting access, or shifting costs. Rather, NCHC’s goals for cost containment aim for a sustainable system that will bring improvements in access, quality, and value to a level where even the neediest patients can obtain the appropriate level of care at an affordable price.

Why should you support cost containment?
• Careless spending will put publicly and privately funded services, including Medicare and

Medicaid, at risk.2 • Cost containment requires that we work to improve access and quality of care. • Higher spending does not guarantee higher quality care.3

How will cost containment make health care more affordable?
• We can lower insurance premiums and offer affordable care to everyone by: 1. Providing coverage for all Americans.

Will cover medically necessary, comprehensive care, and pre-existing conditions.4 o Will increase work force productivity, and will limit the costs you have to pay for the currently uninsured.5 2. Encouraging cost-sensitive decision making and healthy competition by making information widely available.6 3. Making generic, more affordable, medicines available in a timely manner.7

How will cost containment improve access and quality?
Support information sharing among providers, patients, and purchasers. This will improve consistency in using best practices, and will link payments to quality outcomes.8


Long, Sharon K., Teresa A. Coughlin, and Stephanie J. Kendall. "Access to Care Among Disabled Adults on Medicaid." Health Care Financing Review 23.4 (2002): 159-73. Available at:

Batavia, Andrew I. “Health Care Reform and People with Disabilities.” Health Affairs, 12, no.1 (1993):40-57. Available at: 3 Fisher, Elliot et al. “Health Care Spending, Quality, and Outcomes: More Isn’t Always Better.” The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice. February 27, 2009. Available at:

National Coalition on Health Care. Building a Better Health Care System: Specifications for Reform. Washington, D.C., 2009. Available at: 5 Id. at 9 6 Id. at 21 7 Id. at 21–22 8 Id. at 23

Develop medical homes and accountable care organizations, which emphasize patient-centered and coordinated care, in order to meet the unique needs of individual patients and improve overall quality.

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