New medical technologies are a leading driver of U.S. health care spending. This report identifies promising policy options to change which medical technologies are created, with two related policy goals: (1) Reduce total health care spending with the smallest possible loss of health benefits, and (2) ensure that new medical products that increase spending are accompanied by health benefits that are worth the spending increases.
A focused review of RAND Health research identified small ideas that could save the U.S. health care system $13 to $22 billion per year if successfully implemented. They include changing payment policy for emergency transport and greater use of $4 generic drugs. Small ideas do not require systemic change; thus, they may be both more feasible to operationalize and less likely to encounter stiff political and organizational resistance.