UnitedHealth Group outlines its own path for health care reform


Piggy bank and health concepts UnitedHealth proposes reducing health care cost increase trends nearer to the general inflation rate to save the government $1.5 trillion. (Photo: Shutterstock)

The future of health care is expected to be a hotly contested issue in the upcoming presidential debates and the confirmation hearings for Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court. UnitedHealth Group has released “The Path Forward to a Next-Generation Health System,” which combines the strengths of the private and public sectors to achieve four objectives.

Universal coverage

The impact of COVID-19 and resulting economic instability has led to an increase in the number of uninsured individuals. As many as 35 million people may need health insurance coverage. UnitedHealth supports strengthening and expanding existing options to cover more than 28 million uninsured individuals through these steps:

  • Expand and strengthen the Medicaid program to cover more than nine million additional individuals.
  • Modernize exchanges to expand coverage to more than nine million more people.
  • Enable more choice in the individual market to cover nearly 10 million additional individuals.

Improve affordability

The per-person cost of health care is at the highest level in history, exceeding an average of $11,000 annually. UnitedHealth proposes reducing health-care cost increase trends nearer to the general inflation rate to save the government $1.5 trillion.

Recommendations include:

  • Accelerate value-based care to lower costs for consumers and government.
  • Eliminate surprise billing to reduce premiums for consumers and employers.
  • Shift more care to lower-cost sites of service to reduce consumers’ out-of-pocket costs.

Enhance the health care experience

The health-care system today is overly complex and challenging to navigate for both consumers and physicians. UnitedHealth makes these recommendations to address a shortage of 50,000 physicians:

  • Increase engagement in health care to enable consumer empowerment.
  • Streamline and standardize quality measurement to improve care and reduce physician burden.
  • Increase workforce capacity to improve the consumer experience and expand access to care.

Drive better health outcomes

Sixty percent of Americans have chronic conditions, and this number is expected to rise with the aging population. UnitedHealth believes the health system should improve care quality to reduce the burden of disease and drive better health outcomes for all Americans. A 40 percent cost reduction with improved health outcomes can be achieved with these steps:

  • Incentivize and compensate providers for cost-effective, high-quality care.
  • Reinvent care delivery to prevent chronic disease and address health disparities.
  • Empower an informed, engaged and aligned health system to reduce the burden of disease.

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