Our health system is inefficient and expensive. High costs, uneven quality and lack of transparency mean poor value for the money spent on healthcare in the United States. We all pay for the waste and excess costs through higher taxes, rising insurance premiums and out-of-pockets costs, and lower paychecks.
This report summarizes the Healthcare Value Hub’s Nov. 8-10, 2015, conference that brought together state healthcare advocates and national experts to hear updated evidence related to healthcare costs and quality, and to discuss ways that each state can move forward towards better healthcare value.
The conference recognized that states are the proverbial laboratory of health policy ideas and action, and consumer advocates are key to starting and maintaining momentum.
The goal of the conference was to gain a better understanding of selected issues with respect to reducing costs and increasing quality, to envision a variety of paths forward and to network advocates with each other and with experts in the field.
Feedback from attendees showed us that the conference targeted a real need for the opportunity to think big about what’s possible with respect to healthcare value. The research they heard, the advocacy approaches they shared and the new partnerships they formed will help their work going forward.
The conference also reinforced that advocates need resources to support this difficult work. The information is complex and the solutions murky. Attendees expressed the need for more research, technical assistance and data analyses from national partners to help make the case for policy changes in their states.
Finally, the conference revealed a growing momentum for this work. Attendees described many short-term work plans that included surprise medical bills, insurance network adequacy, consolidation (both provider and insurers) and working on many different types of transparency initiatives. Common long-term plans included implementing a state all-payer claims database, provider payment reform, addressing disparities and hospital rate setting.
No matter how unfavorable the political climate in their state, attendees agreed healthcare value is an issue that cannot be ignored.