LIKE IT or not, the health care system in the United States is being driven by marketplace economics. For the marketplace to work in controlling prices and improving quality, consumers must be able to make informed choices. However, the information they need often is unavailable, hard to find, difficult to understand, or lost in the noise of confusing messages.
"We cannot have an effective privatesector health care market,with little government regulation, unless most consumers become active and informed managers of their health care," said David J.Lansky, PhD, president of the Foundation for Accountability (FACCT), a not-for-profit coalition of corporate, consumer, and government purchasers of health care based in Portland, Ore.
The foundation was established in 1995 to develop quality measures that meet the needs ofbuyers and users of health care. Its board members include representatives from the Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA), Federal Employee Health Benefit Plan, US Department of