Testimony Before the U.S. Senate Budget Committee
Theo Merkel testified in a hearing entitled Improving Care, Lowering Costs: Achieving Health Care Efficiency.
Watch the full testimony here.
Thank you, Chairman Whitehouse and Ranking Member Grassley, for convening this
hearing and giving me the opportunity to testify.
The growth in health care spending and the value we receive from it is one of the
primary domestic challenges facing our nation and perhaps the preeminent issue for
any committee tasked with overseeing the federal budget.
The current rate of health care spending growth is unsustainable, for both American
families and for the federal government. It is widely acknowledged a significant
portion of health care spending does not actually improve Americans’ health, yet
well-intentioned but misguided government policies exacerbate wasteful
expenditures. Decades of policymakers have sought to avoid the primary factors
driving wasteful spending, preferring Washington-driven micromanagement that has
failed to bring spending growth to a sustainable rate while distorting the delivery of
care and the timing and direction of innovation.
Fortunately, there are numerous steps that Congress can take to slow the
unsustainable growth in health care spending while preserving benefits for enrollees
in important government programs. However, the longer Congress waits to relearn
the lessons of the past, the more difficult the task will become.
Theo Merkel is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and a senior research fellow at Paragon Health Institute.