The rising cost of healthcare in the United States is a growing crisis of epic proportions that undermines America’s economy, compromises care, drains resources, and threatens financial security. Increased spending continues to impact family budgets. Bloated costs reduce America’s ability to invest in other vital programs. Every dollar wasted on an expensive and inefficient healthcare system is a dollar that cannot be used to educate America’s children, care for our country’s seniors, strengthen our nation’s infrastructure, or defend our borders. As Warren Buffett has said, “The ballooning costs of healthcare act as a hungry tapeworm on the American economy.”
To tackle this critical issue, it is imperative to understand why the United States is spending so much, gain in-depth knowledge of the cost drivers, and identify policies that can slow the trajectory of cost while improving patient access and quality of care. That’s why, on February 21, 2018, West Health—a family of nonpartisan, nonprofit organizations focused on healthcare research, policy and philanthropy — convened an innovation summit in Washington, D.C., to address America’s healthcare cost crisis. The summit featured a broad range of healthcare thought leaders—including Steve Forbes, Atul Gawande, Mark McClellan, and Andy Slavitt—who shared their thoughts on how we can advance the most effective ideas, innovations, and practical policy solutions.
To address the critical risks posed to patients from chronic shortages and rising prices of life-saving generic medications, three national foundations committed $30 million to help establish Civica Rx, a new not-for-profit generic drug company. The Laura and John Arnold Foundation, the Peterson Center on Healthcare and the Gary and Mary West Foundation each committed $10 million, joining seven large U.S. hospital systems representing approximately 500 U.S. hospitals as governing members of Civica Rx. The formation of Civica Rx was announced earlier today.
Three common sense reforms – allowing Medicare to directly negotiate prescription drug prices with drug companies, accelerating the move to a value-based care system and requiring greater price transparency – are key to lowering healthcare costs and improving health outcomes.
The rising cost of healthcare is a growing and major threat to our economy, our financial security and our individual health. For too long, we’ve been paying too much and not getting enough in return. The U.S. healthcare system is on an unsustainable cost trajectory. We have an urgent need to address this cost crisis so that healthcare can become more accessible and more affordable for all Americans. Now is the time.
West Health provides a variety of published reports, findings and data, as well as resources that are free and available for use.