WASHINGTON, D.C. - Business Roundtable, an association of chief executive officers whose companies represent more than 10 million employees and provide health care coverage for more than 35 million Americans, today issued "Health Care Costs in America: A Call to Action for Covering the Uninsured," which includes the organization's principles for reform. Business Roundtable is also a founding member of Divided We Fail, a national effort with AARP and SEIU designed to engage the American people, elected officials and the business community to find broad-based, bi-partisan solutions to health care and long-term financial security issues.
"These principles are based on the premise that the employer-based health care system is valuable and the CEOs of Business Roundtable are committed to maintaining and improving it," said Mike McCallister, CEO of Humana and chairman of the Business Roundtable's health care task force. "At the same time, health care costs are the number-one cost pressure facing American businesses today, inhibiting job creation and hurting America's ability to compete in global markets. Quite simply, health care coverage is out of reach for many businesses, employees and their families. This situation can and must be resolved through bipartisan action now."
The principles were unveiled today at the U.S. Capitol by Business Roundtable during a meeting on health care reform to impress upon both Republicans and Democrats in Congress the importance of prompt attention to this critical issue. In addition to urging Congress to act now, the CEOs also impressed on America's leaders every individual can and should take responsibility for improving health care in this country by participating in wellness programs and obtaining, at a minimum, catastrophic coverage.
Calling for a combination of private market reforms and changes in government programs to ensure that all Americans have access to affordable, high quality care, the Business Roundtable's principles propose the integration of the best innovation, technology and research that the private market offers with the economies of scale and protection that the government provides.
Specifically, Business Roundtable principles assert that:
- The employer-based health care system is valuable and Business Roundtable will continue to support it.
- All Americans must have access to affordable coverage.
- All Americans have a responsibility to obtain coverage - catastrophic coverage at a minimum.
- Safety nets play an important role and low-income individuals may need subsidies.
- Health care costs must be lowered for all consumers and quality must be improved through information technology, transparency, greater emphasis on wellness and prevention, tax law fairness, medical liability reform and more.
Taken together, the principles will help accelerate change, open access to coverage and care and improve the delivery of health care services in America.