In a recent Pew Research study, reducing health care costs is the second-most-important priority for Americans.
And when it comes to health care, affordability is number one — From managing the most basic provider visits and medication to chronic conditions and complex treatments, every facet of the health care experience has seen huge cost increases.
This makes it even more challenging for Americans, including Arizonans, to access what they need to take charge of their health and well-being.
While the argument stands that cost pressures are real and require difficult conversations and creative solutions, it is counterintuitive for health care leaders to give up on lowering costs across the board — that is the easy way out and one we should not accept.
Some would say that the rising cost of medical care is the result of new medical technologies that allow better and faster diagnosing or improved surgical outcomes, or new drugs that cure or control chronic diseases. These are but a fraction of the increase in cost.
It is time that the health care community steps up to turn years of dialogue, discussion, and declarations into actionable change. Health care has reached a critical tipping point. Rising costs are unsustainable and it is time to correct course. Families should be able to meet their health care needs without fear of facing crushing debt.
Since individuals and families cannot negotiate their rates directly, we have become their advocates because it is the right thing to do. We aim to ensure that our more than 1.9 million members, and all Arizonans, get the most amount of health for every dollar spent on care. Every individual deserves quality, high-value, accessible care.
At Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona, our mission is to inspire health and make it easy, and we are committed to doing our part so that this trend does not continue.
But it is going to take all of us in the health care space to come together to:
Social vulnerability is a measure of 15 social factors — such as poverty, lack of vehicle access, and housing status — that show how vulnerable communities are to health threats. We believe investing in the community will address health care inequity and reduce the overall cost of medical care in the long run.
During the past three years, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona has invested more than $20 million through 449 community partners supporting a range of public health and wellness issues.
Tackling rising health care costs is a team sport and requires all of us to step up and make a difference together.
It will require innovation, out-of-the-box thinking, and collaboration to move the needle, and I invite Arizona’s health care leaders to do their part. It is our obligation to ensure that we are good stewards of every health care dollar.
Pam Kehaly is president and CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona.