Healthcare costs are unsustainable, and even supporters of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act concede that the law will not rein them in. The growing burden of our aging population, lost productivity from chronic conditions and diseases, inefficiencies in the delivery of care, and misalignment of incentives in paying for health services are overwhelming. As we tackle these challenges, cues should be taken from the innovations developed by the private sector to confront these same challenges.
After all, businesses have grappled for years with many of the same issues. What is the likely cost and outcome of a particular healthcare service? What option would be best in a given situation? How much protection is appropriate to cover potential healthcare costs? In trying to find answers for our entire system, consider the solutions that many businesses have designed and offered to their employees. This is where the U.S. Chamber of Commerce began its efforts to identify a path forward. Businesses have long provided insurance coverage, paying for healthcare services for millions of Americans, so they have a vested interest in better health for all. It is clear what has worked and where barriers exist. Based on this, we know what is necessary to ensure that these successes can be more widely realized.