RAND offers policymakers new online tool

By Molly Merrill
10:32 AM

The RAND Corporation has launched an online tool that provides policymakers and interested parties with a resource to help understand and evaluate the effects of healthcare reform.

The tool, called COMPARE (Comprehensive Assessment of Reform Efforts), synthesizes what is known about the current healthcare system, provides information on proposals to modify the system and delivers insight about how potential policy changes are likely to affect healthcare delivery and costs in the United States.

RAND officials say the centerpiece of COMPARE is a policy options dashboard that offers both a snapshot and an in-depth look at the implications that various policy changes could have on a range of outcomes like costs to government, quality of care and access to care, as well as the ease with which changes could be implemented.
The dashboard also depicts gaps in knowledge about the consequences of changes in the nation's healthcare system.

Results on the dashboard are informed by a review of prior experience with the policy options and a microsimulation modeling tool that allows policymakers to estimate the impact of specific policy changes on coverage, spending, consumer financial risk and health.

"COMPARE is a global positioning system for healthcare policy," said Elizabeth McGlynn, associate director of RAND Health and co-director of COMPARE. "It is a tool that tells us where we are and, more importantly, where the new proposals will take us in the immensely complex matter of healthcare reform."

"There is no magic solution to our nation's healthcare challenges, and every proposal likely to emerge will contain inevitable trade-offs between cost and quality of care and access to it. COMPARE will help make realistic assessments, based on objective standards and facts, and therefore encourage a full understanding of the immensely complicated benefits and risks of the policy choices ahead," she said.

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