Businesses know what’s needed to tame costs
Healthcare costs are unsustainable, and even supporters of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act concede that the law will not rein them in. The growing burden of our aging population, lost productivity from chronic conditions and diseases, inefficiencies in the delivery of care, and misalignment of incentives in paying for health services are overwhelming. As we tackle these challenges, cues should be taken from the innovations developed by the private sector to confront these same challenges.
After all, businesses have grappled for years with many of the same issues. What is the likely cost and outcome of a particular healthcare service? What option would be best in a given situa- tion? How much protection is appropriate to cover potential healthcare costs? In trying to find answers for our entire system, consider the solutions that many businesses have designed and offered to their employees. This is where the U.S. Chamber of Commerce began its efforts to identify a path forward. Businesses have long provided insurance coverage, paying for healthcare services for millions of Americans, so they have a vested interest in better health for all. It is clear what has worked and where barriers exist. Based on this, we know what is necessary to ensure that these successes can be more widely realized.
As emphasized in our Health Care Solutions Council report released in 2013, the private sector has many strategies on how to provide meaningful information on the cost and quality of services and providers; promote high-value programs that improve health and control unnecessary costs; offer a variety of insurance options, promoting flexibility; improve coordination between Medicare and Medicaid; and restructure Medicare benefits to encourage efficient use of services.
To advance innovation and achieve these goals, we must look at what has been effective in the past and what has stifled innovation. Healthcare reform did not start with the ACA and cannot end with its implementation. Let’s identify what has worked, fix what has not, and realize that flexibility and collaboration are critical in moving forward.