Should Employers Lead the Way for Comprehensive Health Care Reform?

Creating more predictability and managing costs in the health care marketplace is a national issue. And with the various stakeholders and transactions involved in the health care supply chain, it is not always easy to gain a firm grasp on how to implement real solutions. Neither is it a simple matter to drive effective change once those solutions are agreed on. In a recent op-ed published in the Harvard Business Review (“Large Employers Are Key to Reforming Health Care”), health care experts Lindsay A. Martin and Robert S. Mecklenburg make a sound case that employers have a critical role to play in both identifying and implementing comprehensive solutions to reform our nation’s health care finance and delivery systems.

Achieving a shared definition of value for health care coverage, delivery and financing is one of the fundamental goals of true reform. As the co-authors of the op-ed point out, “In our experience in initiatives to improve quality, enhance experience, and decrease the cost of health care…the best way to reach accord on a single definition of quality is to engage multiple providers and employers in a collaborative effort supported by medical evidence.” In other words, as the number one purchaser of health care coverage both in the United States and within our state, the collective purchasing power of employers in a health care marketplace can be a powerful incentive for providers to work provide the best possible coverage options, both in affordability and effectiveness.

Moreover, as the op-ed also argues, such a transparent marketplace would alleviate many of the information disconnects that currently exist along the health care supply chain as providers collect data and report market-relevant quality indicators directly to businesses and individual purchasers. “In such a market, creating a clear definition of quality aligns the production and purchase of and payment for care,” the authors propose. “Virtuous cycles of increasing value are created as purchasers play the lead role in identifying the most efficient and effective providers.”

The NC Chamber and NC Chamber Foundation are currently working to help drive the policy discussion toward comprehensive health care reform in North Carolina. The position taken in the op-ed aligns closely with our philosophy as it drives home two of our key principles: that collaboration along the entire health care supply chain is essential for driving toward a common definition of value that identifies truly actionable solutions; and that job creators have a unique opportunity – in fact, a responsibility – to be a leading force in driving that collaboration. At our annual Health Care Conference coming up on Sept. 15, the Chamber Foundation will release a report we have commissioned with the Benfield Group, a national health care research firm, which aims to foster exactly those principles. We hope you will register today to secure your spot in this important conversation on the future of health care in our state.

If you have questions about the NC Chamber Foundation’s efforts to support collaborative health care initiatives in North Carolina, contact Cassi Zumbiel at czumbiel@ncchamber.net.

Gary J. Salamido
Vice President, Government Affairs
North Carolina Chamber

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