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At What Price?: Conceptualizing and Measuring Cost-of-Living and Price Indexes
is clear is that a medical care price index encompassing all payers for medical services should be computed and published for public consumption.
Recommendation 6-3: A task force should be convened by the BLS, in collaboration with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and other appropriate agencies, to implement construction and publication of a total medical care expenditure price index, encompassing purchases from all health care payers—governments, private third-party insurers, and consumers.
Pricing Outcomes Rather than Inputs
The most difficult issue in the construction of the MCPI concerns adjustments for quality change. New treatments extend life and make the quality of life better. The panel believes that an outcomes-based measure is in principle superior to an input-based measure, but we recognize the formidable measurement challenges and do not know how best to proceed. This area is new and requires considerably more research, much of it interdisciplinary. After BLS has produced the experimental expanded-scope MCPI recommended above, BLS can consider whether, how, and why the outcomes of the treatments for those diagnoses are changing over time and finally consider how outcome changes should best be evaluated in computing a quality-adjusted medical care price index.