• Consumers First Coalition Launches With AAFP on Board

    Group Aims to Correct 'Distortions' in Payment Systems, Including Medicare

    May 24, 2019, 05:12 pm News Staff – The AAFP this month helped launch a new initiative aimed at improving the fractured U.S. health care system. 

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    The Consumers First coalition -- visible on social media as #ConsumersF1rst -- will work with policymakers and the public to address prices and resource inequities.

    The Academy is on the steering committee, along with Families USA; the American Benefits Council; the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees; the American Federation of Teachers; the Pacific Business Group on Health; and First Focus, which advocates for children and families.

    As part of its May 14 launch, Consumers First released a report titled Our Call to Action with frank commentary on what's wrong with the country's health system -- and an outline of the coalition's plans for corrective action.

    The report noted that despite the efforts of policymakers, health care professionals, payers, academics and others over several decades, the United States still has the world's most expensive health care system while also lagging behind its peers in terms of care quality, access, outcomes, efficiency and population health.

    "Within our nation, providers, insurers and other financially interested actors respond to incentives that are driven by a fundamentally distorted market," the report said. "Therefore, it is unsurprising that our health care system continues to fail to meet the needs of America's families. What is missing from efforts to reform U.S. health care is a unified and unbiased voice that articulates the interests of our nation's seniors, families, adults and children in the policies and programs that govern our health care system."

    In joining Consumers First to be part of that voice, the Academy is making its primary care message heard on yet another frequency and ensuring that family physicians are among the allies shaping the group's actions.

    The coalition has identified six issues to address first:

    • high and rising health care prices;
    • distortions created by provider payment systems, including Medicare;
    • increased health care industry consolidation;
    • federal tax policy for nonprofit health care institutions and insurance plans;
    • flawed workforce policy; and
    • inadequate access to data and lack of transparency.

    To that end, Consumers First plans to finalize a congressional and administrative policy agenda soon and begin work with Congress, federal and state policymakers, and the public on key policy changes to make health care more accessible and affordable for all Americans.