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06.14.2022 / Press Release

Families USA launches bold new plan to make health care more affordable and effective, less complicated

WASHINGTON, DC – In an effort to provide providers with incentives to make health care more affordable, less complicated and to put patients first, Families USA today launched People First Care, a new initiative to transform America’s health care system.

“Our current health care system is broken. We’re spending more, getting less and too many families are drowning in medical debt without getting any healthier,” said Frederick Isasi, Families USA’s executive director. “Fixing health care begins with changing the way doctors, hospitals and other providers are paid so they can focus on helping people get and stay healthy, instead of ordering harmful, useless and costly tests and procedures that primarily increase corporate profits. Everyone should get the best care, whether they are Black or white, male or female, urban or rural. To get there, we need to reorient our health care to be more affordable and economically sustainable.”

The organization officially kicked off the effort today with the release of a new paper that examines the health care system’s distorted financial incentives that drives up costs, and threatens families’ health and the bank accounts. Our Health Care System Has Lost Its Way: Why U.S. Health Care Is Unaffordable and Low Quality details how high health care costs are causing families to forgo medical care, struggle to meet their basic needs and incur medical debt.

The paper identifies two key reasons causing America’s health care system to lose its way: large monopolies, and fee-for-services payment models that prioritize increasing the number of tests and procedures over health. It calls on the Biden administration, Congress and state policymakers to address the monopolistic behavior, pricing abuses and lack of transparency around costs and outcomes that are driving abysmal health outcomes and lack of affordability and equity.

Costs affect families in the workplace by crippling their ability to earn a living wage and impeding their employers’ ability to provide benefits over the next several years. Making the problem even worse is the fact that the rapidly increasing cost of health care isn’t resulting in better health for families in America. The paper indicates that the U.S. has some of the worst health outcomes, lowest levels of access and greatest inequities. In addition, it fares worse than other countries in avoiding treatable and preventable deaths – “despite the fact that the U.S. spends nearly one fifth of its economy on health care, the system fails to provide timely and effective interventions to save Americans’ lives,” the paper notes.

In addition to the new paper, Families USA published a blog post today on People First Care. The organization is putting a full multimedia launch behind it with video content and future papers looking at equity, hospitals, payment reform, system transformation and other topics.