Wayne Anthony, who is on the National League of Cities Steering Committee, talks about efforts to change the 2.4 trillion dollar health care industry.
Read the full transcript »
How large a role should government play in improving the health of citizens? Wayne Anthony: Well, it should play a major role. In fact, recent meetings with Secretary Lewitt, of Health and Human Services said that the government is the largest purchaser of healthcare in the country. And the Federal government, and the local and state government were looking at almost 60% of all healthcare purchased in United States is purchased by government entity or some type. Female Speaker: So -- Wayne Anthony: So it should play a major role and typically, we have in government have not played an active and we are accepting things like Medicare or Medicaid. But Secretary Lewitt, along with so many others have said, we need to get much more engaged in the healthcare debate but also get engaged in healthcare solutions. What ideas are you hoping to take away from this Congress? Wayne Anthony: Well, I am actually here for several meetings on Capitol Hill in the district, but combined it with this meeting, I am here because I am in focused for the last seven years for the team of about 300 people working on coming out with a solution to the healthcare crisis, the revolution and it's heavily focused on consumer directed healthcare. We have been using that phrase almost seven years now. Why is this effort different from any of the others? Wayne Anthony: It's a continuous effort. You don't change it 2.4 trillion dollar industry overnight and what we call is incremental steps. Arizona has implemented something about four years ago, Massachusetts three years ago, states were implementing things at the state level. We are trying to take a look at it, what do we need more from the Federal level. For example, three years ago passed the Medicare Drug Spending Bill, and in that were some embedded pieces of legislation that we needed to improve and make possible much more consumer involvement in their healthcare choices. The best known piece of it was Health Savings Account. How do you empower those who are disinterested about healthcare? Wayne Anthony: Well, you have to create new mindset. The first mindset is that you have a vested interest, a financial stake in remaining healthcare. We have an illness treatment system in this country. We have to turn that around a 180 degrees and say okay. We will reward you for remaining healthcare, we'll reward you for making good healthcare choices and those healthcare choices all the way from your lifestyle to family decisions, to career choices, to the kind of healthcare you access. The big change is going to be as a result of giving more choices that going to be held more accountable for the choices that make. I call them, that you may know, I'll add to this but I call them the big 4A's. We need to give people accessed very person that's in this country access to healthcare. Second, we need to make it affordable for every person to participate in healthcare. Third, we need to give them the authority over their healthcare choices and decisions, and then fourth, making accountable for those choices.