Health Care Solutions from America's Business Community: The Path Forward for U.S. Health Reform
Our country's health care system has many strengths: tremendous medical innovation, cutting edge technology and drugs, and world-leading medical institutions. Nevertheless, there is tremendous variation in quality, cost and access to care as well as a growing burden of preventable chronic diseases. Three years after the enactment of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act ("PPACA"), further reforms are needed to achieve lower costs, innovative and high-quality care, and better health for Americans. America's employers are implementing many innovative reforms in health care and health promotion. This report describes how to build on those reforms to achieve innovative, sustainable, high-value care for all Americans.
One year ago, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce convened a council of diverse member companies from major sectors of our health care system, including purchasers, suppliers, and deliverers of care. This council includes hospitals, insurers, pharmaceutical companies, medical device companies, large corporations -- such as manufacturers and international hospitality organizations -- and small businesses. When this "Health Care Solutions Council" began its efforts, the legal landscape and the future of the PPACA was uncertain. The constitutionality of the law was pending before the Supreme Court and congressional and presidential elections were on the horizon, all of which could have significantly affected the law's tenure and implementation. Following the Supreme Court's June 28, 2012 decision and the country's November 6, 2012 elections, the dust settled and implementation of the PPACA moved forward.
With the letter of the law intact, but much uncertainty remaining due to vagaries in the statutory language and regulatory process, the Chamber's Health Care Solutions Council ("Solutions Council") developed this report to propose additional reforms to address variation and disparity in access, cost and quality, and ease the law's burden on business and the public in the coming months. The Solutions Council's efforts represent the Chamber's recognition that:
- Critical further steps are needed to successfully address the nation's fundamental challenges related to health care delivery and insurance reform, and
- The business community must play a vital role in identifying and taking these additional steps collaboratively, recognizing that the employer-based system has worked well and should be maintained.
These efforts were driven by the Solutions Council's mission:
To achieve greater value in health care, as measured by more affordable coverage options and greater access to higher-quality, prevention-oriented care, leading to better population health and sustainable U.S. health care costs. By prioritizing efforts to improve the employer-sponsored health system which covers millions of Americans, we will use these solutions to drive system-wide changes.
The Solutions Council members listed at the conclusion of the report all contributed extensively to the report's development and they arrived at consensus on the vast majority of issues. Although not every member agrees completely with every recommendation, they all fully support the need for action now to address the issues described in the report.