Feb 12, 2015

Paying for Quality over Quantity in Health Care: Why the Public Ought to Be Engaged


In late January, the Obama administration announced a plan to drastically change the way Medicare reimburses doctors and hospitals for health care services.


In health policy wonk circles, changing the way doctors and hospitals are paid is called payment reform. It's one of several approaches experts have proposed to help bring down the cost of our country's health care system. 


Any approach to bringing down costs, including payment reform, raises many complex and difficult questions. Engaging hospitals and doctors is crucial to making payment reform work for Medicare, and to proving to private insurers that it can work for them too. 


It's to policymakers' advantage to include patients in the conversation about payment reform as well. This is particularly important now, as the public is, for better or worse, taking on more and more responsibility as consumers of health care. 

We examined this issue on our blog this week. Head there to find out:

  • Is the public capable of or interested in discussing health care costs and policy? 
  • What does the public have to say about payment reform?
  • Why does the public need to be at the table on payment reform? 

Rebooting Democracy: Taking a Blog Pause

Dan Yankelovich will be taking a break from writing for his blog as he immerses himself in events related to his new book, Wicked Problems...Workable Solutions.

Read more about the book here.





The wisdom of crowds is crucial, I believe, to meeting the challenge of our nation's increasingly wicked problems.

                             -- Dan Yankelovich

PA in the News

A collection of stories citing work from Public Agenda, our Board and our partners.

Competency-Based Education Network announces new cohort of member institutions 

(Press Release)

Thirteen institutions and two public systems representing 40 campuses joined C-BEN, a collaborative network supported by Lumina Foundation and managed by Public Agenda. C-BEN institutions work to address shared challenges to designing, developing, and scaling high-quality competency-based degree programs. 


Public Agenda's experts weighed in on President Obama's plan to make community college free:


Free for All 

(Community College Week)

Director of Higher Education and Workforce Programs Alison Kadlec says, "Increasing access, which this proposal is certainly intended to do, is part of the equation, but it's only the beginning. It's critical to focus also on how the proposal would impact completion of certificates and degrees, transfer to four-year colleges and advancement into the labor market. Without a commitment to student success, the focus on access will ring hollow."


Obama wants free two-year college tuition, but cost may not be biggest obstacle to degree 


Senior Public Engagement Associate Isaac Rowlett says, "It is not money alone, or lack thereof, that determines a student's success. A lot of these issues are a little less sexy but equally important," he said. "One of the greatest barriers is the idea of balancing working and family." The piece cites our report, "With Their Whole Lives Ahead of Them."


(Community College Week)
The Center for Community College Student Engagement (CCCSE) at the University of Texas at Austin also cites "With Their Whole Lives Ahead of Them" in this piece detailing what community college students say they need to succeed.


Public Agenda is a nonprofit organization that helps diverse leaders and citizens navigate divisive, complex issues. Through nonpartisan research and engagement, it provides people with the insights and support they need to arrive at workable solutions on critical issues, regardless of their differences. Since 1975, Public Agenda has helped foster progress on K-12 and higher education reform, health care, federal and local budgets, energy and immigration. Find Public Agenda online at

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