Mission and Vision

Health care costs have increased three times faster than wages over the past decade, putting a strain on government resources, and employer and family budgets. Rising costs to finance Medicare, Medicaid and other public health programs are major contributors to the long-term fiscal challenges facing federal and state governments and centerpieces of today’s debate on proposals to reduce the deficit and cut government spending. If current trends remain unchanged, official estimates project that U.S. health spending may rise from around $2.5 trillion to $4.6 trillion by the end of the decade. Despite this, there is a lack of timely, detailed information that can be used to track the components of national health care spending, to support analysis of underlying cost drivers, and to determine the reasons for variation across the country.

HCCI will provide access to an unprecedented amount of health care cost and utilization data to researchers and policymakers trying to understand the factors influencing health care costs.  Our mission is to promote independent research and analysis on the causes of rising U.S. health spending, to provide policy makers, consumers, and researchers with better, more transparent information on what is driving health care costs, and to help ensure that, over time, the nation is able to obtain a greater value from its health spending. Researchers will be able to use the data to accurately evaluate existing and new ways to contain costs while maintaining high quality health care. 

Through the HCCI database, researchers will have unprecedented access to health care cost and utilization data that covers all ages and health issues, is national in nature, and includes previously inaccessible data on the private health insurance market.

HCCI’s key objectives include: 

  • Fostering a better understanding of the true drivers of increasing health care costs among thought leaders, policymakers, other health care decision-makers, and ultimately the general public. 
  • Creating and maintaining a first-of-its-kind database with up-to-date information about public and private sector health care costs and utilization.
  • Conducting cutting edge research on health care costs and their drivers. 
  • Providing fact-based, non-partisan insights on health care policy issues. 

The Institute’s initial work program will comprise two sets of activities:

First, the Institute will produce a twice-yearly health care cost tracker report, demonstrating the primary drivers behind increasing health care costs. These regularly produced reports will contain timely information on aggregate trends for health care costs for commercial payers, the most recent data available for fee-for-service government payers, and will break out trends in inpatient hospital spending by unit prices for services, number of admissions, and intensity of admission. These reports will include cost trend data at a national aggregate level, with additional geographic information available over four or five regions. Data provided in the reports will be freely available online to the public. Access to more detailed background data tables will be provided and available for download.

Second, the Institute will support/provide relevant data for topical research projects from independent researchers at leading universities, think tanks, and other research organizations. The Institute expects such research projects to cover areas akin to the effect of the recession on health care costs, or the impact of aging on health care costs.