Amidst an election year and COVID-19 outbreak, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services released its National Health Expenditure data, which projects that spending on health care will increase by 5.4%, on average, between 2019 and 2028, representing 19.7% of gross domestic product by the end of that period. Sound familiar?

We’ve been having the same discussion for 20 years: health spending is continuing to rise at an unsustainable rate. This accelerated growth in spending is due to the aging population and price increases on health care goods and services.

These projections, published in Health Affairs, show that all partners in our health care ecosystem need to constrain budgets and think more wisely about their health dollars – now more than ever.

We are just three months into 2020, and the health system is already facing unprecedented challenges and growing expenditures, especially with the global COVID-19 pandemic. Until researchers can develop a vaccine, health care workers are caring around the clock for patients struck by the virus. It’s likely that the actual spending figures for 2020 will be much higher once COVID-19 health expenditures (hospital stays, intensive care units, mechanical ventilation, etc.) are taken into consideration.

As we look to reduce spending across our health care system, we must shift the resources away from the volume of health care services that contributes to low-value care and move toward a system focused on providing high-value, life-altering interventions.

The Going Below The Surface (GBTS) Forum is developing an action plan to better understand how to identify and intervene in low-value care. We’ll share more details in coming weeks about a roadmap developed by GBTS partners for addressing low-value care.

For more information about how the Going Below The Surface Forum is addressing the root of health care spending, subscribe to the Going Below The Surface email and follow the conversation on Twitter via #GoingBelowTheSurface.