June 28, 2022
Executive Vice President, External Affairs, Blue Cross Blue Shield Association
CEO, Morgan Health at JPMorgan Chase & Co.
President, American Action Forum
The COVID-19 pandemic placed a great emphasis on the American health care system and its priorities. Leaders in the field saw the lack of equity and how certain communities are disproportionately affected by health care disparities. Today, health care officials are looking to solve these issues while creating sustainable solutions for the future.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce recently hosted the 9th Annual Health Summit, which focused on the business of health and advancing the value of health while containing costs. During the event’s fireside chat, industry leaders discussed making health care affordable and equitable, as well as the lessons they learned from the pandemic.
There Are Major Equity Disparities Across the U.S.
In terms of health care and coverage, the United States is often thought of as a singular entity. However, there are many areas in the country where people do not have proper access to the health services they need. In discussing how COVID-19 impacted the health care system, Sean Robbins, Executive Vice President of External Affairs for BlueCross BlueShield, talked about the equity issues across the country.
“[In terms of] issues around equity, there's also racial equity, [and] there's also rural equity in places across the country,” said Robbins. “In those places, access to health care providers in our rural communities … is very hard to get, particularly in behavioral and mental health.”
Robbins stated the solutions that arose during the pandemic, such as primary care telehealth, were a game-changer in getting equal access to health care. He also noted BlueCross BlueShield is looking to continue to develop those solutions.
Affordability Cannot Come at the Expense of Outcomes
One of the most pressing issues for Americans is the lack of affordable health care options. For many Americans, they cannot afford quality health care and prices are only going to rise as inflationary pressures exacerbate prices. Dan Mendelson, CEO of Morgan Health at JPMorgan Chase, is working with his team to ensure that health care is more affordable without sacrificing quality.
“We're very focused also on health outcomes and making sure that health outcomes are improving within the system,” said Mendelson.
Mendelson went on to describe the solutions they're looking at to make health care more affordable for everyone.
“There are better ways to drive more cost-effective care,” he explained. “We're very focused on bringing care into the home as opposed to in some of the more expensive settings like inpatient care … it really requires system redesign.”
Health Care Needs to Focus on Value Over Volume
In order for the health care system to both serve its clients and be financially viable, it has to have value. Robbins stated that quality care plus affordability equals value health care. He advocated there needs to be a real change in the incentive structure depending on how care is paid for and to focus on value-based arrangements.
“We have traditionally been structured on a fee-for-service system,” said Robbins, “You do more tests, you give more treatment, you get more.”
“That has driven some of the affordability issues we have today,” he continued.” We have got to increasingly move the system towards value-based arrangements, where the payment structure is for patient outcomes and value, not just volume.”