With the U.S. tab for health care approaching one dollar out of every five, a key question on the health reform agenda is how to achieve value in health care. Jeanne Lambrew, the new deputy director of the White House Office on Health Reform, spoke this morning to nearly 800 health policy wonks at the National Health Policy Conference about the importance of comparative effectiveness research and remarked on studies showing lower comparative quality for U.S. health care across a range of measures [Webcast available tomorrow]. As American Prospect blogger Ezra Klein commented in his post from the conference, “Our health system isn’t only a moral disgrace. It’s also a bad value.”

Last week, Health Affairs published a set of 11 papers on “value in health care,” that delve into such topics as: efficiencymeasurement; the influence of the payment system; building organizational capacity; payment reform options; costs and benefits of health IT; the consumer-driven health care movement; accountability for quality; and more. All papers are free access online through February 9.