The role of costs in comparative effectiveness research

Health Aff (Millwood). 2010 Oct;29(10):1805-11. doi: 10.1377/hlthaff.2010.0647.


The major expansion of federal comparative effectiveness research launched in 2009 held the potential to supply the information needed to help slow health spending growth while improving the outcomes of care. However, when Congress passed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act one year later, it limited the role of cost analysis in the work sponsored by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute. Despite this restriction, cost-effectiveness analysis meets important needs and is likely to play a larger role in the future. Under the terms of the Affordable Care Act, the institute can avoid commissioning cost-effectiveness analyses and still provide information bearing on the use and costs of health care interventions. This information will enable others to investigate the comparative value of these interventions. We argue that doing so is necessary to decision makers who are attempting to raise the quality of care while reining in health spending.

MeSH terms

  • Comparative Effectiveness Research / economics*
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Health Care Reform / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Health Expenditures
  • Quality of Health Care
  • United States