This is the question being considered at the 2018 Lown Institute Conference – Breaking the Cycle of High Cost & Low Value: America’s Next Health System.
Specifically, the conference focuses on ideas that will help tackle overuse and the crisis in affordability.
Speakers sounded off on the high cost of prescription drugs as a key factor contributing to the health and economic crisis facing the U.S. health care system.
As Vikas Saini, president of the Lown Institute, stated, “We have to get un-hijacked, we have to take back control” and he means it as they did not accept any industry funding to help support the conference, which is a novel concept in Washington.
Saini called on the citizenry to get involved, saying that the ‘next health care system should be designed by the people who use it.’
This was an approach echoed by other speakers on day one, including Danielle Martin, MD who asserted that ‘health care is not just about money or medicines, it is about what we value as a society.’
Dr. Martin shared her perspective as a Canadian who has a vision for a global health care system, stating, “Answers may not be so different from nation to nation and solutions may be global.”
She added that the challenge is difficult, which is why it is so important for people to get involved and take action since there are ‘powerful forces operating to keep things the way they are.’
Another panelist, Dean Baker, pointed out the absurdity of exorbitant costs in the health care system by using the example of having a fire in your house and having the fire fighters ask you how you are going to pay for putting it out before they help you.
It is indeed absurd and that is why it is so important that we keep the pressure high and demand action now. Stay tuned for day two highlights tomorrow.
More information on the conference can be found here: http://conference.lowninstitute.org/