The COVID pandemic has brought the strengths and weaknesses in American health care into stark relief. For example, as millions of Americans lost jobs due to the coronavirus pandemic, they also risked losing their job-provided health insurance.
Our current job-based health insurance model is outdated, inequitable, leaves many people behind, and restricts choices for patients. This distorts the market and drives up premiums.
We need to offer more and better options for those without employer coverage.
Hidden prices, due to the lack of price transparency, also contribute to high prices in our system. In fact, the average household in America spends $28,000 per year on health care and coverage.
The way we pay for health care doesn’t work. This was true before the pandemic, but it’s even clearer now. Policymakers can lower prices by making them transparent. This will offer certainty and allow patients to shop for value.
In fact, price transparency could lead to reductions in healthcare expenditures by as much as 40 percent. That’s $11,000 per family per year.
We can also lower costs by making pandemic deregulatory changes, like the recognition of medical licenses across state lines, permanent. These reforms can put us in a better, more agile position to respond to future crises (and to better serve patients in general).
The pandemic strained our healthcare system, and will continue to do so. But expanding insurance, increasing price transparency, and making deregulatory changes permanent can help make health care work better for all.