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Regence Optimistic About Health Industry Leaders' Pledge to Cut Health Care Costs
Date:5/11/2009

PORTLAND, Ore., May 11 /PRNewswire/ -- The following statement is from Regence BlueCross BlueShield President and CEO Mark Ganz. It is in response to today's announcement by a group of private-sector health industry leaders to decrease the U.S.'s annual health care spending growth rate to save as much as $2 trillion over the next ten years:

"I support the health industry's commitment to help control health care costs in our nation. We are a country that spends more than 15 percent of our GDP on health care - a number that threatens to rise, is unsustainable and is a mark of inefficiency - so today's announcement is a helpful step. As we know, spending isn't the only issue on the table in health reform, and cooperation across the health care sector is crucial as Congress and the administration work on reforms to bring quality, affordable health care to all Americans.

"It's been recognized universally that each player in the health care industry must show its commitment to improving our nation's health system, and Regence is chief among the proponents. For all of us, the test is not what we say about health reform, it's what we do, so translating today's announcement into concrete savings is key.

"This collective commitment aligns with Regence's multi-year effort to contain health care costs. Our pharmacy benefit management program has provided more than $700 million in savings over the past nine years, and our case management programs help to reduce costs for our members by tens of millions of dollars each year.

"As a member of the board of America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), I have advocated for fixing our nation's broken health care system. Across the spectrum of health-related industries, we must continue to have these kinds of forward-thinking conversations in order to achieve real change in our nation's sickly health care system; otherwise old culture will defeat new strategies.

"In January, Regence joined with national consumer and labor groups, the pharmaceutical industry and a medical association to work together for reform - many of the same groups participating in today's announcement. Together with the coalition, we launched a multimillion-dollar national advertising campaign to plead for health reform as a key component in righting U.S. economic woes. We have also joined with the Aspen Health Stewardship Project Coalition to promote ten key principles necessary to achieving true health reform.

"I look forward to continuing to work with the Obama administration, Congress and key stakeholders to assure the health reform bill affords all Americans access to quality, affordable health care."

About Regence

Regence is a leading health insurer in the Northwest / Mountain State Region, offering health, life and dental insurance. Regence serves nearly three million members as Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon, Regence BlueShield (selected counties in Washington), Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Utah and Regence BlueShield of Idaho. Each plan is a not-for-profit independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Regence is committed to improving the health of our members and our communities, and to transforming our health care system. For more information, please visit regence.com.


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