Employers Can Be the Catalysts for Health System Change

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<p>In the United States, we rely on employers to provide health insurance coverage to almost two-thirds of the non-elderly population. Yet, few American business owners would be satisfied with the performance of the system if health insurance were their core business.<Br><br>In a <a href="/cnlib/pub/enews_clickthrough.htm?enews_item_id=28453&return_url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Ecommonwealthfund%2Eorg%2Faboutus%2Faboutus%5Fshow%2Ehtm%3Fdoc%5Fid%3D483669%26%23doc483669">new column,</a> Commonwealth Fund president Karen Davis says that "employers--as the largest collective purchasers of health insurance--can and should drive the fundamental health system reform our country needs, and Americans want."<bR><bR>U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt has called upon employers to commit to "four cornerstones" to improve quality and lower costs in health care. In this column, Davis lays out her comprehensive plan for building a health system that performs at a high level across all dimensions of care. She highlights existing purchaser coalitions and resources that employers can use--such as Partnership for Value-Driven Care, The Leapfrog Group, and Bridges to Excellence--to improve access and quality, streamline administrative costs, and reform the health care payment system.<BR><br>Taking the initiative now, she says, "will ultimately prove a 'win-win' for American employers--and their workers."</p>