A bold proposal for tackling health care's biggest issues

The COVID-19 pandemic exploited fundamental flaws in a U.S. health care system where efficiency and effectiveness often are hampered by competitive pressures, fragmentation, and misaligned incentives. Long before COVID-19, these same flaws were at the root of the inability of the system to make meaningful progress on bringing down costs, expanding access and improving quality for patients. Fragmented payment and delivery systems, in particular, have continued to perpetuate a status quo that hinders larger efforts to transform the health care system to promote greater innovation and achieve health equity.

Industry alignment can be notoriously difficult to achieve, particularly among payers, providers, and health systems that traditionally compete with one another. Yet, a health care system that is universal, equitable, accessible, affordable, high-quality, and sustainable will truly require partners to put patients first and come together in collaboration. 

The early successes of Blue Shield of California’s innovative “Industry Initiatives” show how we can overcome established barriers to alignment and illustrates the potential for creating a system that can deliver better outcomes when stakeholders effectively harness collaboration.