National Partnership for Women & Families

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From the desk of ... Debra L. Ness

Make Value The Priority

January 9, 2017 | Health Care

Cross-posted from the Zetema Project blog

Historically, our health care system has rewarded the delivery of poor quality care. In this kind of system, health care costs continue to rise but patients fail to improve or stay healthy. Women, who require more care over their lifespans and who tend to coordinate care for their families, suffer the most. They disproportionately face the highest costs and unique barriers to care, and have fewer resources.

With health costs spiraling out of control, policymakers have a choice. We can become a nation that allows more people to suffer and die even though cures, care and resources are available. We can eliminate marketplace guiderails and let the cost of coverage skyrocket while effectiveness of coverage plummets, undermining families’ workforce participation, economic security and equity and creating an enormous drain on our economy. Or the new administration can make high-value care and payment a priority. The latter would be the wisest choice.

Driving value means using our health care dollars strategically to incentivize more cost-effective care delivery. It means reducing inappropriate care, waste and harm. It means paying for the right care at the right time and in the right setting. It means driving the right kind of patient-focused care coordination, prevention and primary care that saves money and gets us to better outcomes.

We need the new administration to continue the movement to higher-value, people-centered care delivery. Consumers by themselves cannot repair or navigate a marketplace jungle. We cannot strengthen our nation’s economy and prosperity without thoughtfully improving our nation’s health care system.


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