Posts Tagged ‘Kathleen Sebelius’

Saving the Affordable Care Act

In a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed in which he redefined the President’s national healthcare program – ACA, the Affordable Care Act – into something that could actually be both workable and cost-effective, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels was onto something.

Along with 20 other sitting US governors – including Tennessee’s Governor Bill Haslam – Governor Daniels challenged HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to redefine and restructure this new law. Rather than just saying no, Daniels – on behalf of his fellow governors – detailed a series of six changes that will be needed to make the ACA work for America. What caught my eye – and one that I felt was key:

  • The law’s provisions discriminating against consumer-driven plans, such as health savings accounts, (would be) waived.

In short, these Governors, representing states with 115 million Americans, have endorsed the same consumer-driven approach to healthcare that other companies, and our own, have been advocating.  We know and believe that given the choice, the motivation and the right pricing information, Americans can – and will – lower their own healthcare costs.

Governor Daniels said that consumer choice – and the motivation provided by health savings accounts and other programs giving patients a stake in seeking out the most cost-effective care – will drive costs down.  And he’s right on target.

Americans are world-class shoppers.  When given the motivation to price-shop and the transparent pricing information needed to make informed decisions, they will invariably make cost-effective choices.  I know this from experience.  It’s the value we deliver to employees across American as we deliver very specific, actionable, healthcare product and service pricing information on a very local basis.

For instance, through our client Thompson Machinery – a seven-year veteran of Consumer Directed Health Plan (CDHP) advocated by Governor Daniels – we’ve been able to generate annualized savings of at least $200 per employee, with some achieving savings of from $800 to $1,000 per employee.  Imagine if the 115 million Americans represented by these 21 Governors were to achieve those kinds of savings?  In round numbers, we’re talking about $23 billion dollars per year in real-world, provable savings.

Here’s the bottom line – with a series of fiscally-sound adjustments to the ACA (such as those advocated by Governor Daniels), and accurate and local pricing information, the American people can make the ACA work for themselves, and for our country.  Savings will not be realized by bureaucratic mandate, by Congressional law or by court rulings.  Instead, savings will be realized when individual patients – transformed into informed and price-conscious consumers and provided with the pricing data they need – make individual buying decisions based on both quality and price.

I applaud Governor Daniels. With leaders like him and his 20 fellow governors, what we have done with more than 100,000 American consumers can just as easily be done by 100 million Americans.