As Congress debates the next steps in national health policy, a briefing organized by two U.S. representatives on Tuesday gave elected officials and their staff a chance to learn about an idea born at U-M that has gained bipartisan support.
The event, organized by Representatives Diane Black (R-TN) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), featured Mark Fendrick, M.D., a Medical School internal medicine professor with a joint appointment in the School of Public Health, and Michael Chernew, Ph.D., a former SPH faculty member now at Harvard University.
In their introductory remarks, Congressmen Black and Blumenauer highlighted the rare bipartisan support for value-based insurance design (V-BID) and praised its role in improving the health of Americans and lowering health care spending. Both were enthusiastic about partnering on bipartisan legislation to expand V-BID in private and public payers.
Instead of a one-size-fits-all approach to co-pays and deductibles, V-BID allows insurers to align patients’ out-of-pocket costs with the value of services, so patients pay the least for the tests and treatments that will benefit them most, based on what health conditions they have.
Medicare Advantage health insurance plans in several states just began testing V-BID concepts among seniors, and the TRICARE insurance system that serves active-duty military and their families is poised to test it this year.
At the Feb. 7 event, Fendrick and Chernew discussed how V-BID could be used by high-deductible health plans and health savings accounts – two aspects of health insurance that are receiving wide attention since the new Congress began. They described how V-BID could be a bipartisan, multi-stakeholder solution to improve quality, enhance consumer experience, and lower costs.