The American healthcare system remains on tenuous ground for yet another year. The success and stability of the Affordable Care Act is uncertain with continued attacks on its foundations, while leading presidential candidates – and California’s Governor – are continuing calls for a national single-payer system. Meanwhile, employer and individual healthcare costs keep rising as the health of the nation deteriorates. The Bay Area Council is working to bring transparency to this debate, communicating with legislators and officials in D.C. and Sacramento about pragmatic policy solutions – such as the individual mandate – that leverage the best of our private system while moving towards universal access to high quality affordable healthcare.
2019 Policy Activities
Universal coverage – Healthcare providers in our nation have a legal and moral obligation to provide care to everyone who needs it – including primary care, which has been shown to reduce the need for higher-cost interventions – and the Council remains committed to building a system that lives up to this ideal. Together with Stanford’s Institute for Economic Policy Research, the Council’s Economic Institute will be developing a series of policy briefs that will explore, define, and and evaluate pathways to universal health coverage for California and the nation.
Better value for spending through private sector competition – In order for business, their employees and other consumers of healthcare to have better value for medical spending, we need healthy competitive private markets. This includes markets for health insurance, hospital and other health services including pharmaceuticals and biologics. Approaches that do not emphasize health private market competition – whether they are approaches like limited benefit health insurance or provider price setting – represent the wrong direction.
A focus on health through economic inclusion – Recently debate in Washington has focused on creating work requirements for people receiving public healthcare benefits. This reflects an acknowledgement of the connection between health and economic opportunity. However, while it is absolutely true that the best social program is a job, providing a strong social safety net that includes healthcare benefits has been demonstrated to be the best way of producing economic opportunity.
Janet Liang, Northern California President, Kaiser Permanente