Improving the health system requires all of us
March was a turbulent month for the health care industry as the American Health Care Act (ACHA) was introduced and then withdrawn from Congress. Discussion of the bill dominated the news, and there are rumblings that a second attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) may be made soon.
No matter where you stand on the political spectrum, the reality is that no health care plan will resolve the nation’s health care crisis without first lowering the cost of care. The AHCA – like the ACA – focuses primarily on insurance coverage. But coverage will not be affordable until health care is affordable – which means the Alliance’s mission remains vitally important.
We know that no matter what, transparency in the health system is critical to identifying opportunities for improving quality, cost and the patient experience as we define value. Advancing transparency through performance measurement and reporting on quality, utilization and price strengthens purchaser engagement and allows them to leverage their buying power to shape demand and make informed decisions. For data and information to matter, it must be actionable.
Recently, a purchaser partner of the Alliance utilized Alliance work on opioid usage to assess his workplace’s use of brand name drugs and prescription patterns to see how his employees’ experiences compare to recommended best practices. Results of his inquiry will inform employee education programs and perhaps benefit design. When employers use reports to determine areas of greatest need and establish action plans for improvement, we know we are making progress.
And as providers and hospitals in Washington continue to improve in the delivery of quality, evidence-based care and in the reduction of unwarranted variation, the result will be a significant reduction in medical costs.
If a version of the AHCA becomes law, or if the ACA remains, our mission is still the same. We must continue to work together to improve health care quality and affordability regardless of the policy environment. And given the potential shift in emphasis to state and regional leadership, our work only becomes more relevant and more important. Thank you for joining with us on this critical mission.