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Iowa Committee Produces Principles for National Efforts to Reform Health Care
Date:7/27/2009

WASHINGTON, July 27 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Iowa Committee for Value in Healthcare today issued a set of principles to guide the health care reform debate. Comprised of a diverse group of Iowa health care providers, purchasers, payers, patient advocates, and policy analysts, the Committee identified the following consensus-based principles for high-value, fiscally-responsible health care reform at the federal level:

Principle #1: Fiscal sustainability: The Committee feels strongly that rapid health care cost growth makes our current health care system fiscally unsustainable. We cannot pretend that resources are unlimited or that sure and swift savings will come from investments in comparative effectiveness research, health care technology and prevention programs.

Principle #2: Innovation through Collaboration: The Committee feels strongly that the future of health care will require a new level of innovation that can be best achieved by high-levels of formal and informal collaborations among all health care stakeholders.

Principle #3: Primary Care Transformation: The Committee feels strongly that elevating the role and use of primary care - and the ability to more effectively coordinate with acute-care specialty services and long-term or community-based care - is essential for the transformation of our health care system.

Principle #4: Societal Commitment to Prevention and Wellness: The Committee feels strongly that prevention and wellness must be included in governmental and business policy reform and third-party coverage arrangements.

Principle #5: Engaged and Responsible Health Care Consumers: The Committee feels strongly that health reform initiatives should encourage and set expectations for a more active role for the health care consumer.

The Committee's principles were transmitted to President Obama, members of the Iowa congressional delegation, and other key policymakers to serve as guidelines in the national discussion on health care reform. Failure to incorporate such principles, the Committee warned, would likely weaken any effort's ability to produce long-term sustainability:

"The people who provide goods and services attempt to contain costs while offering high quality to the greatest number of consumers. The goal for health reform should be no different. Value in health care means higher quality care at lower cost. Ample evidence exists that improving value is possible, but not without a transformation in provider practices, purchaser coverage agreements, and patient expectations with a commitment by all to reduce costs for long-term system sustainability."

"So far, the health reform debate has focused largely on increasing access to quality, affordable, health care for all Americans - a goal that the Committee supports. However, simply expanding access to the current system would exacerbate its problems. Costs would rise and quality might not improve. That is why our primary recommendation is that any effort to change the health care system be explicitly linked with value."

"The publication released today by the Iowa Committee for Value in Healthcare should be required reading for the President and Congress as they negotiate the details of health care reform legislation. The consensus-based principles agreed upon by members of the Committee can be used to evaluate any plan's ability to improve the current system. Moreover, satisfying these principles should serve as a prerequisite for the adoption of a plan seeking to remedy the country's health care ills," said Sara Imhof, Concord Midwest Regional Director and member of the Iowa Committee for Value in Healthcare.

The Iowa Committee for Value in Healthcare was formed earlier this year by The Concord Coalition in partnership with the University of Iowa College of Public Health and the Iowa Healthcare Collaborative. The Committee is part of The Concord Coalition's Fiscal Stewardship Project which encourages regional Fiscal Advisory Councils across the country to formulate policy prescriptions for addressing the nation's long-term fiscal imbalance. For more information on this project, visit: http://www.concordcoalition.org/act/fiscal-stewardship-project

To view the "Principles for Value-Based Health Care Reform," visit: http://www.concordcoalition.org/files/uploaded_for_nodes/docs/090727-ICVH-doc.pdf

The Concord Coalition is a nonpartisan, grassroots organization dedicated to balanced federal budgets and generationally responsible fiscal policy. Former U.S. Senators Warren Rudman (R-NH) and Bob Kerrey (D-NE) serve as Concord's co-chairs and former Secretary of Commerce Peter Peterson serves as president.


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SOURCE The Concord Coalition
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