HEALTH PLAN QUALITY: Businesses Urge Voluntary Change
A new coalition of business and employer groups this week launched a new campaign to stress "to employers, especially midsize and small businesses, the need for high-quality health care plans for workers," Wall Street Journal's "Washington Wire" reports. According to the coalition's leader, Ryder System Chair M. Anthony Burns, the theme of the campaign is that "the free market system is the way to improve quality" (Shafer, 4/3). The Employer Quality Partnership's members include the Business Roundtable, the Association of Private Pension and Welfare Plans, the ERISA Industry Committee, the National Association of Manufacturers, the National Association of Wholesalers-Distributors, the National Federation of Independent Business and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (EQP release, 4/1). "Washington Wire" notes that "[a]bout two dozen CEOs from the Business Roundtable visited Capitol Hill this week to kick off" the coalition's efforts (Journal, 4/3).
'Our Business Is Health Care'
The coalition hopes to "accelerate the growing emphasis on quality in private health plans," under which 70% of Americans receive coverage. The EQP is producing a brochure, entitled Navigating the Health Care System, to help consumers better understand the health care system and their own health plans. The brochure will be mailed to millions of Americans over the next several weeks, according to the coalition. "We know the marketplace works and the EQP is committed to advancing market-oriented solutions to America's health care challenges. We're making quality health care our business," said Burns (EQP release, 4/2). But managed care reform advocates, such as David Hebert, head of a coalition urging reforms, called the business coalition's effort "an attempt to avoid legislation when these groups have been asleep at the switch" (Journal, 4/3).