|New Study Shows Healthcare Costs Put U.S. Workers At Big Disadvantage
The costs and performance of the U.S. healthcare system
have put America’s companies and workers at a significant
competitive disadvantage in the global marketplace, according to a
study by the Business Roundtable.
Business Roundtable, an association of chief executive
officers whose companies provide healthcare formore than 35 million
Americans, released its first annual Business Roundtable Healthcare
Value Comparability Study.
"Healthcare costs are one of the top cost pressures
facing American businesses today, inhibiting job creation and hurting
America’s ability to compete in global markets," said Harold
McGraw III, chairman of Business Roundtable and chairman, president and
CEO of The McGraw-Hill Companies. "This study helps us understand the
relationship between spending, quality and competitiveness, while
enabling us to track progress as we push forward with healthcare
The report combines internationally reported measures
covering both spending on, and the performance of, national healthcare
systems to assign a value to the U.S. healthcare system compared with
important global competitors. On a weighted scale, the results show
that U.S. workers and employers receive 23 percent less value from the
healthcare system than the average of five leading economic competitors
–Canada, Japan, Germany, the United Kingdom and France (the G-5
group) – and 46 percent less value than the average of emerging
competitors Brazil, India and China (the BIC group).
"This study shows a significant healthcare value gap,"
said Ivan Seidenberg, chair of Business Roundtable’s Consumer
Health and Retirement Initiative and Chairman and CEO of Verizon
Communications. "While, in many respects, the employer-based healthcare
system in the United States is the best in the world – we have
groundbreaking scientific advances, cutting-edge medical technology,
and exceptional doctors and medical institutions – the business
model supporting it doesn’t meet Americans’ needs. When we
spend more to get less, we all lose – workers, employers and the
government. The study points to a serious need for healthcare reform
that puts customers in the center and uses the power of the market to
lower costs, improve quality, create more consumer choice and expand
The study also showed that, as a group, the G-5
countries spend approximately 63 cents for every dollar the United
States spends on healthcare – yet the health of the U.S.
workforce lags by 10 percent in a composite measure. The gap is even
wider in relation to rising economic powers: the three BIC countries
spend just 15 percent of what we spend on healthcare, yet the health of
the U.S. workforce trails that of BIC countries by 5 percent.
The Healthcare Value Comparability Study, which was led
by health value specialist Arnold Milstein, weighs 19 separate measures
of health spending and workforce health, chosen for their relevance to
employers and their workforces and cross-nation comparability. It
compares the United States with the G-5 group and the BIC group.
"The CEOs of Business Roundtable believe true reform of
the healthcare system must emerge from the uniquely American principles
that drive our economy: competition, innovation, choice and a market
that serves everyone," said Seidenberg.
Business Roundtable has created a healthcare reform plan
rooted in these principles. Designed to put the United States on the
path to a competitive healthcare system, the plan rests on four
a. Creating greater consumer value in the healthcare marketplace by
using health information technology and empowering consumers with more
information about quality healthcare.
b. Providing more affordable health insurance options
for all Americans by creating an open, all-inclusive private market for
health insurance and replacing today’s fragmented state-by-state
marketwith multistate markets.
c. Engaging all Americans in taking an active role in
their healthcare. First, this means placing an obligation on all
Americans to obtain health insurance either through their employer or
the private market. Second, we must encourage all Americans to
participate in employer- or community-based prevention, wellness and
chronic care programs.
d. Offering health coverage and assistance to low-income, uninsured Americans to create a stable and secure public safety net.
Address: Business Roundtable, 1717 Rhode Island Ave. NW, Washington DC 20036; (202) 872-1260, www.businessroundtable.org.