Kentucky, like the rest of the United States, has a problem. Healthcare costs continue to rise. However, paying more for healthcare does not mean we get better healthcare services, and it does not mean we are healthier as a result. We pay too much for care and it is causing financial, emotional, and clinical harm to individuals, businesses, and communities.
The current situation is unsustainable; harder choices are coming. There are proven approaches to make headway, but we have to work together to achieve success. We can’t blame the current state of affordability on any individual group of people. We all created the situation. It will take all of us working together to solve it.
The KHC has long been a trusted partner in reporting healthcare quality performance data. But you can’t address quality without also looking at value. Solving one issue in isolation does not achieve the healthcare affordability goal. Healthier populations use fewer healthcare resources. Healthier populations create more productive communities. Unnecessary services are causing clinical, emotional, and financial harm. Administrative waste is a financial burden on patients and providers while also burning out providers.
To begin the conversation locally around healthcare affordability, the KHC has joined the Network for Regional Healthcare Improvement (NRHI) and other regional coalitions across the country to bring healthcare affordability to the forefront of healthcare transformation efforts. The movement is focused on health, price, and waste — the three drivers of affordable healthcare. In joining this effort, NRHI and its coalitions like KHC will leverage their collective strengths on efforts to improve affordability while preserving and improving quality. In addition, partnering with other national entities committed to solving the healthcare affordability problem will strengthen the effectiveness and reach of these efforts.
The campaign, called Affordable Care Together, is an approach that puts communities at the center of the solution; the movement is led by neutral, non-profit conveners who build on existing, multi-stakeholder efforts to improve health, reduce price, eliminate waste, and collectively create greater awareness and solutions.
As part of Affordable Care Together, myself and KHC leaders Teresa Couts, Randa Deaton, Emily Beauregard, Don Lovasz, and Amanda Elder will join leaders from every segment of the U.S. healthcare system at the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington, D.C. for a day-long summit next week, addressing our country’s healthcare affordability crisis. We will bring back the lessons and ideas that we learn and put them to use, hosting a Community Health Forum in December called “The Path to Affordable Healthcare.” The half-day event will bring together key healthcare stakeholders and like-minded local change agents, who will help develop a community action plan to address healthcare affordability in our community.
Look in coming weeks for more content on healthcare affordability, including reflections from the summit in Washington, D.C. There are ways we can work together to change the system and make it sustainable for current and future generations. By working together, we can make a difference.