America's Agenda Calls Nation's Self-Funded Health Plans to Action

WASHINGTON, April 16, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- With health care costs rising annually up to five times faster than wages and continuing to outpace growth in private sector profits and government tax revenues, the Board of Directors of America's Agenda issued a Call to Action to leadership of the nation's employment-based, self-funded health plans, urging them to lead America's overdue transformation to high quality and affordable health care delivery.

The Call to Action, issued by national and international labor union, business, and health industry leaders who comprise the America's Agenda Board of Directors, asserts that self-funded health plans that pay the health care bills for one-third of the US workforce are "uniquely positioned to lead America by example, right now, by taking action to deliver higher quality, more affordable healthcare to the workers and families they serve." The Call to Action lays out 12 key principles of high-value care delivery design and calls on self-funded health plans to collaborate in implementing them on a regional and, ultimately, a national scale.

"Nobody seriously expects the ACA to rein in the relentless growth in health costs," says America's Agenda Executive Director Mark Blum. "The federal law lacks a coherent strategy for doing that. America's Agenda sees a more promising solution emerging through the leadership of employers and jointly-governed Taft-Hartley fund trustees whose self funded health plans provide health care coverage to tens of millions of private and public sector workers and their families."

"Employers and trustees of these plans are paying their own health care bills," continues Blum. "They have motivation to demand more value for the health care dollars they spend. Acting in concert or alone, in some cases, self-funded health plans have the scale, administrative flexibility, and above all, the market power to effectively demand redesign of the ways providers deliver health care and plan participants access it. By implementing proven principles of high-value care delivery design, self-funded health plans can improve patient health outcomes, substantially lower their overall health care costs, and offer revolutionary improvements in the health care experience of plan participants."

America's Agenda President Doug Dority notes, "Response to our Call to Action will be motivated, to a good degree, by self-interest. The actions we are urging will improve self-funded health plans' bottom lines! Yet, as leaders of self-funded health plans respond to the call, our entire nation stands to reap the rewards. Studies show as much as half of annual US health care spending adds zero value," points out Dority. "With our overall health care expenditures surpassing $3.1 trillion this year, the potential to reduce spending on inefficient, redundant, and inappropriate care is enormous. Investment of even a fraction of these savings on pressing economic needs like infrastructure improvement, education, and job creation would have far-reaching benefits."

About America's Agenda

America's Agenda is an alliance of national labor unions, businesses, health care providers, and government leaders who share a commitment to assuring that every American has access to affordable, high quality health care. For more information about America's Agenda, go to www.AmericasAgenda.org.

CONTACT: MEDIA CONTACT: Norris Clark, 609-425-1325 norris@princetonscgroup.com

Source: America's Agenda