Strengthening Affordability and Quality in America's Health Care System

Objective: The Partnership for Sustainable Health Care brought together five national organizations to present consensus recommendations for improving health care quality while lowering spending growth nationwide. The groups in the Partnership—representing diverse constituencies involved in the nation's health care system—include America's Health Insurance Plans, Ascension Health, Families USA, the National Coalition on Health Care, and the Pacific Business Group on Health.

As a package, the Partnership's recommendations are not aimed at individual public or private programs—instead, they are a single, integrated construct designed to promote payment and delivery reform across all payers. Leaders of the Partnership believe their comprehensive approach will minimize the ‘silo effects' of health care, such as shifting costs from one sector to another. The Partnership's goal is to present action steps for the federal, state, and private sectors to make the entire health care system safer, more affordable, and more effective, resulting in systemwide reform that will yield substantial savings over time.

Process: With the support of a generous grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Partnership met regularly during 2012 and 2013, coming to consensus on a final set of five recommendations that will bend the overall cost curve. Three recommendations align incentives to transform the way providers deliver care—and encourage consumers and payers to demand high-quality, well-coordinated care. Two recommendations strengthen the infrastructure needed to achieve desired results in the form of savings and better health outcomes and provide important incentives for states to work in innovative partnerships with public and private stakeholders to transform the health care system.

Methodology: The Partnership for Sustainable Health Care defined a common vision for a reformed health care system:

The Partnership's recommendations were defined in accordance with six guiding principles:

Other related work: The Partnership organizations plan to continue their work by engaging many other health care stakeholders that are also interested in promoting cost efficiencies while improving the quality of care.

For more detailed description of policies in this report, please see:

Strengthening Affordability and Quality in America's Health Care System, Partnership for Sustainable Health Care, April 2013.