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A Health Care Agenda for Business

The health care system in the United States is in crisis, and the implications for businesses and their employees are profound. As employers struggle with unrelenting double-digit health-insurance cost increases, some firms have decided to drop coverage entirely, and many others have shifted costs to employees. Meanwhile, the quality of the health care being paid for by companies and their workers remains highly uneven.

On its own, business cannot solve the health care crisis in all its aspects, but that doesn't mean it can't do a lot to improve the system. Some companies are taking more active control over the issue and getting better results on both cost and quality. To learn from such companies and from those who influence and deliver health care services, the authors conducted in-depth interviews with thought leaders in business, health care and related sectors. The overriding lesson from their research: Companies must build bridges to other players in the system to address the systemic problems that transcend even the most powerful corporations. They propose a partnership-based health care agenda for business that will benefit not only companies and employees but also health care overall by strengthening the market mechanism and encouraging fruitful collaboration.

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