Expanding Health Care Coverage

Project Title

Bending the Cost Curve in New York

Grant Amount


Priority Area

Expanding Health Care Coverage

Date Awarded

July 21, 2009


Outside New York State






Rising health care costs and the containment of their growth have been national and State-specific issues for decades.

Recognizing the need for a national roadmap to control the unsustainable growth in health care costs, the 2007 Commonwealth Fund report, “Bending the Curve: Options for Achieving Savings and Improving Value in U.S. Health Spending,” identified 15 federal policy options and estimated the impact they could have on lowering health care spending relative to projected trends. Modeled by The Lewin Group (Lewin), the study concluded that these options could generate 10-year savings ranging from $9 billion to more than $300 billion. The report became a major resource for policymakers tackling the issue of health care costs. In 2009, the New York Health Foundation (NYHealth) awarded a grant to Lewin to leverage the model, data collection, and methods developed under the national study to create a State-specific roadmap for New York.

A 2007 Lewin national study using modeling found that health policy reform options could save an estimated $1.5 trillion over 10 years, which would offset the cost of expanding health insurance coverage to all. To successfully realize potential savings in New York State, Lewin adapted the model to analyze regional data. Lewin identified areas for improvement and policy options for consideration through consultation with a Technical Advisory Panel of experts from New York State. Examples of potential policy included: changing the structure of financial incentives for both hospitals and physicians to encourage following evidence-based guidelines and to ensure more efficient care; emphasizing primary care services to support preventive care and avoid costly emergency care; and using tax incentives to encourage enrollment in lower cost plans. Lewin developed estimates of the savings of each of the 10 policy options suggested in collaboration with the Technical Advisory Panel by using its established simulation model. Through consultation with key stakeholders in New York State, Lewin determined the feasibility of implementing various policies and ultimately developed implementation plans for the most viable options. Policymakers are now able to use the findings of this report to assess concrete approaches to reduce health spending in New York State.

Read the report associated with this grant, “Bending the Health Care Cost Curve in New York State: Options for Saving Money and Improving Care.”