Published September 15, 2014

Leading the way to a healthier America

To fix America’s healthcare system, we need private sector leadership.

Understandably, the public sector’s role is often the primary focus when it comes to health reform. But even as the Affordable Care Act expands access to health coverage for millions of Americans, it’s important to note that the business community has long been leading the charge to improve health – and develop a healthcare system that delivers the value and quality all Americans deserve.

Today, the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association joined some of our country’s largest companies, along with the Bipartisan Policy Center, to share our best practices and lessons learned when it comes to improving the health of individuals, the health of communities and the healthcare system itself. Together we released the Bipartisan Policy Center’s CEO Council on Health and Innovation report, “Building Better Health: Innovative Strategies from America’s Business Leaders.”

The work of this council has underscored the tremendous leadership and focus many of our most well-known brands – such as The Coca-Cola Company, Verizon Communications and Walgreen Co. – bring to improving their employees’ health. Our participation has also reaffirmed the unique vantage point and role of Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies.

As health insurers to nearly 105 million Americans, the Blues strive every day to help improve health across the country. We work with businesses to reward employees for taking steps to better their health, which in turn leads to lower healthcare costs. We strive to make it easier for consumers to ask questions about their benefits, conditions and costs, providing answers that help people make informed decisions about their care. We help build community partnerships to address such pervasive issues as childhood obesity and diabetes, resulting in tangible, life-changing improvements to health at the local level.

And perhaps most important, we help drive new, innovative models to create a better healthcare system. Today, 24 million Americans receive care delivered by more than 200,000 doctors who participate in Blue value-based payment arrangements that reimburse for overall quality rather than individual services. These value-based programs support care coordination that puts patients first. They engage consumers in making the best decisions for their own health through wellness and condition-management programs, as well as resources that help them fully understand the quality and cost of medical services. They have reduced the rate of ER visits, helped people better control diabetes, cardiovascular disease and hypertension, and slowed the growth of medical spending. And they have improved health, quality of life and the patient experience for countless individuals.

We are proud of the leading role the Blues are playing to build a healthier America. But there is more work to be done. As the efforts of the CEO Council show, the private sector has been instrumental in advancing a more efficient, sustainable healthcare delivery system. We urge others to join this cause and take action. We must continue pushing forward – and working together – if we are going to succeed in transforming our country’s $2.8 trillion dollar healthcare system. Only then will we truly create an America where every individual in every community can lead a healthier life.

The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association is an association of 36 independent, locally operated Blue Cross and/or Blue Shield companies.