April 14, 2021

Consumers First Calls on President Biden to Address Health Care Failures

News Release

Consumers First’s 2021 Administrative Agenda Calls on President Biden to Address Health Care’s Inefficiencies, Inequities, and Market Failures

As the country continues to grapple with and address COVID-19’s devastating impact on health, jobs, and the economy, an alliance representing the interests of families, children, working people, employers, and primary care has created a blueprint for change.

Consumers First’s administrative agenda urges the Biden administration to address the inefficiencies, inequities, and market failures driving high-cost and low-quality care in the US health care system. The alliance recommends implementing reforms across five key policy areas focused on driving value into health care payment and delivery for the US health care system:

  • Make health care more affordable by preventing further consolidation of health care markets and lowering health care prices.
  • Increase price and quality transparency to create a more fair and equitable health care system
  • Improve health outcomes by shifting payment incentives to deliver health, reduce inequity and emphasize service value over volume
  • Strengthen our system of primary care by investing in services that keep people healthy and prevent them from needing to access more expensive care settings
  • Establish national data-sharing and interoperability standards to reduce waste and enable real-time coordination of services across health sectors

“Even before COVID-19, health care costs were growing at an unsustainable rate, forcing families to make impossible tradeoffs between buying groceries and seeing a doctor,” said Sophia Tripoli, Director of Health Care Innovations at Families USA.  “We urge President Biden to address high costs, consolidated markets, and the lack of price and quality transparency. These factors are preventing families from accessing affordable, high-quality health care, driving further inequities during the pandemic.”

“Employers provide affordable, high-quality health care coverage to millions of American workers, but soaring costs and market inefficiencies threaten their continued drive for greater value,” said Ilyse Schuman, senior vice president, health policy, at the American Benefits Council. “Policymakers must respond by improving transparency and reorienting payment incentives so families can get the care they need.”

“There are too many barriers for all working people to access quality, affordable health care. AFSCME members who work in public health see this first-hand and believe that every family and community deserves to be healthy and strong. Fortunately, there are significant administrative solutions federal policymakers can adopt today that will help lower costs and improve the quality and value of care,” said Shaun O’Brien, Assistant Director for Research and Collective Bargaining at the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. 

“Children continue to need greater access to affordable, high-quality health care,” said Averi Pakulis, Vice President for Early Childhood and Public Health Policy at First Focus on Children. “We look forward to working with the Biden administration to make sure that they give children fair and equal consideration as they improve the quality, transparency and equity of our nation’s health care system through the Consumer’s First administrative agenda. Lawmakers must ensure that improvements treat children and adults comprehensively, including through behavioral health; erase racial disparities that impact both children and adults; and include children in expanded data collection designed to improve health care.”

“PBGH is proud to have worked closely with Xavier Becerra when he was California’s Attorney General to stop rampant anti-competitive behavior by a dominant health system in the state,” said Shawn Gremminger, Director of Health Policy at Purchaser Business Group on Health. “As Secretary of Health and Human Services, we hope Sec. Becerra will continue his successful work to protect consumers and purchasers by aggressively pursuing policies that stop health care special interests from continuing to drive up prices.”

Consumers First is an alliance that brings together the interests of families and children, working people, employers, and primary care working to change the fundamental economic incentives and design of the health care system. Our goal is to realign the incentives and design of health care so that the system truly delivers the health and high-quality care that all families across our nation deserve.