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Press release
July 31, 2019

Consumers First Releases Policy Agenda to Address the Economic Distortions Plaguing the Health Care System

Agenda’s Goal is to Ensure Consumers Receive Better Health Care by Realigning the System’s Financial Incentives and Design.

Washington, D.C, July 31, 2019 – After launching in May, Consumers First: The Alliance to Make the Health Care System Work for Everyone has released its Administrative and Legislative Policy Agenda.

Consumers First seeks to realign the economic incentives and design of the health care system so that the system delivers high quality, affordable health and health care to America’s families. The following leading organizations from the consumer advocacy, employer, labor and health care provider communities make up the steering committee: Families USA, American Benefits Council, AFSCME, American Academy of Family Physicians, American Federation of Teachers, First Focus and Pacific Business Group on Health.​

The Consumers First policy agenda is s an extension of the alliance's initial Call to Action which identified six underlying distortions in the health care system that need policy action:

  • Distortions in Prescription Drug Prices
  • Distortions Created by Payment Systems, Including Medicare
  • Increased Health Care Industry Consolidation
  • Inadequate Access to Data and Lack of Transparency
  • Flawed Health Care Workforce Policy
  • Federal Tax Policy for Nonprofit Health Care Institutions and Insurance Plans

The policy agenda crosscuts each of these six focus areas focus on both near-term and longer-term policy targets.

“While Presidential candidates debate each other about their health care coverage plans, we want to underscore that inefficiencies and economic distortions in health care continue to harm families and threaten their financial well-being. This is happening across our nation, in so-called “red” states and “blue” states, to families living in rural communities as well as families living in our urban centers. This isn’t about politics or geography, this is about what our health care system should be delivering for the people it serves —that’s why our alliance is called Consumers First,” said Frederick Isasi, Families USA Executive Director.

The Consumers First agenda is aimed at helping elected officials and government representatives craft policies and laws that will significantly improve the health care system and make it more accessible, affordable and equitable.

For examples, in order to address federal tax policy for nonprofit health care entities, including hospitals, Consumers First will support legislation that clearly defines the activities that constitute community benefit and that requires non-profit hospitals to make publically available their annual financial data regarding their community benefit.

And promoting policies to fundamentally rebalance the way the health care system pays for services with a focus on enhancing value for consumers and eliminating distortions created by payment systems, including Medicare.

“For far too long, families across our nation have dealt with low-quality, high-cost care because of the underlying economics of our health care system and the way in which the system is designed. No new health insurance coverage proposals will allow families to come first unless these issues are addressed, said Isasi.” Our goal with this policy agenda is to urge lawmakers and policy makers to take action so that we truly reorient the health care system toward health and high-quality health care. We want more efficient and rational payment and delivery systems to ensure that consumers always come first.”