Experts Agree − Solving the Healthcare Affordability Crisis Will Require Actions by Employers, Others

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Experts Agree − Solving the Healthcare Affordability Crisis Will Require Actions by Employers, Others

Seattle, WA —Employers, healthcare providers, and other industry leaders today gathered in Seattle to discuss the roles they can play in reining in the rising cost of U.S. healthcare. Experts from Boeing, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, GE healthymagination, and leaders of Regional Health Improvement Collaboratives (RHICs) agreed that the healthcare industry cannot fix the U.S. system by itself, and explored the role that employers can play – on their own – and as part of regional partnerships.

“Healthcare affordability affects everyone and achieving it will require everyone to change,” said Elizabeth Mitchell, president and CEO of the Network for Regional Healthcare Improvement (NRHI), the event’s sponsor. “We’re here to focus on how employers can use their purchasing power to drive changes in the system, like cost transparency and reducing low-value care.”

NRHI, through its HealthDoers initiative, convened the National Employer Summit and highlighted the efforts of its member RHICs that are working to make local employers an integral part of this conversation. Local host Washington Health Alliance brought a regional perspective to the issue by presenting the results from their recent report “First, Do No Harm,” which used Milliman’s MedInsight Health Waste CalculatorTM to quantify low-value medical care in Washington state and garnered national media attention due to the staggering numbers.

“One of the surest ways to improve healthcare affordability is to reduce the amount of waste in the health system,” said Nancy Giunto, executive director of the Washington Health Alliance. “Now that we have information about the amount of unnecessary care that patients receive, and how much it costs, employers can work with other healthcare stakeholders on action steps to make affordability a reality in Washington state.”


The keynote address, delivered by Frederick Isasi of Families USA, highlighted how the national healthcare crisis directly impacts American families, and described what affordable healthcare could look like for communities nationwide if we collectively demand change.

“Families USA applauds this critical effort. Transforming the U.S. health care system is hard work,” said Isasi. “Every day that a family has to struggle to pay their healthcare bills or gets caught up in a system that can’t address their needs, the importance of this work only grows. NRHI and their partners are true visionaries and it’s time for consumers to join forces and work together to make sure families can get the healthcare they deserve and this country is capable of providing.”

Other speakers at the summit included Glenn D. Steele, Jr., MD of the Health Transformation Alliance, Gary Kaplan, MD of Virginia Mason Health System, and Michael Thompson of the National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions. A full list of speakers can be found on NRHI’s website.

Funding for the Employer Summit was provided by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.


About NRHI

The Network for Regional Healthcare Improvement (NRHI) is a national membership organization of regional health improvement collaboratives (RHICs) and partners across the United States. Our members work in their regions, and collaborate across regions, to transform healthcare and achieve better health, and high quality affordable care.

About Washington Health Alliance

The Washington Health Alliance is a place where stakeholders work collaboratively to transform Washington State’s health care system for the better. The Alliance brings together organizations that share a commitment to drive change in our health care system by offering a forum for critical conversation and aligned efforts by stakeholders: purchasers, providers, health plans, consumers and other health care partners. The Alliance is a nonpartisan 501(c)(3) nonprofit with more than 185 member organizations.

About the HealthDoers Network

Launched in 2014 by the Network for Regional Health Improvement, with funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, HealthDoers is the premier network for health and healthcare changemakers to come together to connect, collaborate, and accelerate their work. At the heart of HealthDoers is an easy-to-use online platform that supports tailored collaboration and shared learning.

About the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

For more than 40 years the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has worked to improve health and health care. We are working with others to build a national Culture of Health enabling everyone in America to live longer, healthier lives. For more information, visit Follow the Foundation on Twitter at or on Facebook at

Date: March 7, 2018

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