This is an incredible time for innovation. Breakthroughs in research are leading to curative therapies that could change the lives of tens of thousands or millions of patients. At the same time, Americans face real struggles with cost and access to healthcare.
Rather than quick fixes or casting blame, it is time for collaboration to build a market-based system that improves quality, reduces cost and drives innovation; provides patients with access to affordable coverage using financing and delivery mechanisms based on value; and ensures public health through preventive services.
We must peel back the curtain – although the US contributes 17.5% of GDP towards healthcare, we aren’t achieving the best outcomes for patients on a consistent basis and no one knows what’s really included in the bill. I remember my mother, an intensive care nurse who worked the 3 to 11 shift, coming home, exhausted, telling me about her critically ill patients and her ideas about how to make the system better for them. Today, we are still struggling to find those solutions.
Across the sector, we can all demonstrate that commitment to patients by fostering an environment of transparency. Current federal regulations prevent us from open dialogue about the costs and benefits of medicines despite the overabundance of information at our fingertips. We want to improve patient outcomes and make costs more predictable, but need safe harbors to do so effectively. Let’s incentivize – not constrain – collaboration.
Lastly, patients need more access to tools to prevent illness, not just safety nets to catch them when they are sick. Many do not realize that the 41 million Americans in Medicare do not receive free preventive services, like vaccines, available in other plans under the ACA. If we were able to close the gap on adult immunization rates by increasing access, it could save the US economy $7.1B a year.
Every member of the healthcare system has a responsibility to do what’s best for patients and contribute to real solutions. With the election behind us, let’s put aside politics and together build a healthcare future that puts patients first.