Seema Verna, an administrator at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services recently wrote an opinion article in the Wall Street Journal. Verna discusses the financial problems facing both Medicare and Medicaid – and the 130 million Americans who rely on these programs.
She hopes that the Innovation Center, founded in 2010 to test new models to pay for health care, can help to find a path forward for healthcare. Healthcare should move away from central planning in Washington and focus on giving more choices for consumers, says Verna. One goal she listed was to move away from the current fee-for-service system to one that holds providers accountable based on health outcomes. She also wants to issue more waivers to increase flexibility.
Verna’s article demonstrates humility and an understanding that Washington has failed to provide quality, affordable healthcare for our nation’s elderly:
“Consumers are a critical part of the health-care equation. We need to empower patients with information to seek value and quality as they shop for services. They also need incentives to be cost-conscious. Patients can define value better than the federal government can…No government agency has all of the answers, especially in an industry as large and multifaceted as health care. We look forward to reviewing ideas and submissions and then launching transformative new models. Consumers need more control over the allocation of health-care resources. The models we launch within the Innovation Center will show us the path to achieving that vision.”
Let’s hope a new approach focused on patients can bring about better quality and more affordable care.