The RAND Corporation today launched an online tool to provide policymakers and interested parties with a way of understanding and evaluating the effects and unintended consequences of health care reform proposals certain to be introduced in the new 111th Congress and beyond. COMPARE (Comprehensive Assessment of Reform Efforts) is an online resource that synthesizes what is known about the current heath care system, provides information on proposals to modify the system and delivers insight about how potential policy changes are likely to affect health care delivery and costs in the United States.
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 and others, quality of care, and access to care, as well as the ease with which changes could be implemented. The dashboard also depicts gaps in our knowledge about the consequences of changes in our health care system.
Results on the dashboard are informed by a review of prior experience with the policy options and a state-of-the-art microsimulation modeling tool that allows policymakers to estimate the impact of specific policy changes on coverage, spending, consumer financial risk and health. COMPARE's modeling tool is transparent; users can see how much a change in a particular design element -- for example, the different sizes of firms subject to an employer mandate -- would affect outcomes.
RAND developed COMPARE to provide an objective, nonpartisan source of analysis that can inform the anticipated upcoming public dialogue about health care reform and to help policymakers develop more effective options going forward.
(Sources: Rand Corporation, http://rand.org, accessed January 15, 2009)