What We Do:
Critical Analysis of
Health Care Reform
The current U.S. health care system needs comprehensive reform. To this end, academics, policy makers, and politicians have put forth multiple proposals. Yet, it is apparent that true health care reform demands the most thoughtful solutions--those that consider technical, economic, ethical, and policy issues, among other perspectives. All health care reform proposals need to confront the following challenges:
- Technology and outcomes assessment
- Organization and delivery of care
- Payment to providers
- Structure of health plan competition
- Funding of health care for all Americans
- Legal and regulatory reform
- Innovations in a cost-constrained environment
- Transition and implementation issues
A Think Tank for Health Care Reform Policy
The FRESH-Thinking project addresses the details of health care reform policy options essential to all reform proposals. It is a best minds, think tank organization that critically evaluates these key facets. FRESH-Thinking Director John B. Shoven, Ph.D. is responsible for the overall organization, operation, and performance of the project. The overall objective of the FRESH-Thinking project is to convene a collaborative, multidisciplinary group of scholars who comprehensively study the specific, detailed challenges to health care reform. Their goal is to develop critical analyses to inform all comprehensive health care reform proposals.
A Core Group, led by Victor R. Fuchs, Ph.D. with six scholars, works collaboratively and meets several times a year to advise the Director about which specific issues to address, how to define these issues, who to invite to write background papers for Workshops and serve as the commentators. Core Group members also help set the agenda for the project, participate in the Workshops, and contribute papers.
The challenges will be systematically evaluated and are structured under the following four themes:
- Operations of the health care system
- Financing health care reform
- Legal and regulatory issues
- Transition and implementation
Each issue is the subject of a two-day, invitation-only Workshop of experts. Workshops are organized around two background papers prepared by experts who comprehensively review the technical, economic, ethical, policy, and other issues. Then commentators from a wide variety of perspectives (including health plans, business, and abroad) offer written responses. Workshop participants and expert consultants contribute their expertise on specific topics, also.
FRESH-Thinking commissions two summary papers on each workshop. The papers are finalized following the Workshop with a group of 15 to 20 health economists, physicians, health services researchers, health plan executives, consultants, government officials, and others, including individuals with experience in other countries.
Dissemination of the findings on this 54-month project (which began in June 2006) occurs in multiple ways. This web site will post the Workshop papers, as well as the papers that are published in health policy journals. A collection has been compiled in a book by Victor Fuchs.