CEOs from many leading health organizations met in Chicago Tuesday to unveil their consensus plan for national healthcare reform, which calls for increased accessibility and affordability, as well as quality care for all Americans.
The executives, representing the Healthcare Leadership Council, are set to discuss their proposal with U.S. Senate and House committee leaders. The executives said they hope it will impact the Democratic and Republican political campaigns and decisions of the next president.
“I don’t think any of [the presidential candidates] have it right,” said Denis Cortese, president and CEO of Mayo Clinic. “None of them are really addressing the issue of what we’re going to do with the total [health-care] delivery system-how are we are going to generate [quality]? How we reward it?”
Cortese explained that the 10-percent cut of physician payments by Medicare currently pending in Congress could create an opportunity to start changing the system.
“When they go to do the 10-percent cut, just don’t cut the good ones,” he said.
Cortese added that this would send a message to America-that the country is re-focusing its health care system on “better outcomes, better safety, better service and lower costs.”
The most broken aspect of U.S. health care, he insisted, is that “we are paying the most amount of money for bad outcomes, bad safety, bad service, no integrative [and] coordinated care. That’s partly why our expenditures are just going up and up and up.”
Both the public and private sectors have a role in their plan, the CEOs said. They would push for competing coverage and more insurance options for consumers to help drive innovation and quality in the private sector.
Cortese explained that the government would be a funding mechanism to help people pay for affordable insurance. A key aspect of the proposal is its call for health care to be delivered in a more efficient and effective manner.
“Nearly 80 percent of those that are uninsured live in a household where at least one person is employed, and nearly half of them have been offered health insurance by their employers. So we think there’s a lot to be gained by using some of those public dollars or tax credits to do that,” said Mary Grealy, president of the Healthcare Leadership Council.
But she noted that most health care reform efforts are too often derailed by ideological gridlock, inflammatory rhetoric and the demonizing of opponents.
Grealy, though, emphasized the importance of doing more effective and efficient outreach to get people enrolled in insurance.
“At the end of the day, it is how you give a helping hand, especially to those that are employed, but are low-income, perhaps working for a small business owner,” she said. “Give them that helping hand to help them afford the offer of insurance.”