Investing in Health: A Federal Action Plan

Prepared in partnership with The Health Initiative on behalf of Blue Shield of California Foundation and The Commonwealth Fund


By Melinda J. Dutton, Partner, Manatt Health | Kyla M. Ellis, Manager, Manatt Health | Rocco Perla, Co-founder, The Health Initiative | Rebecca Onie, Co-founder, The Health Initiative

In the wake of a pandemic that has pushed our healthcare system to its limits, crippled the economy and brought into stark relief long-standing racial inequities, we are faced with both the opportunity and the imperative to rethink the role of federal leadership in creating a healthier America. Over the past decade, policy makers and industry leaders have pursued significant changes in the way we deliver and pay for healthcare, moving away from incentivizing volume and high-cost interventions and linking payment more closely to “value.” Yet improvement in healthcare is not enough to improve health. An estimated 20 percent of health outcomes are linked to medical care; the remaining 80 percent stem from socioeconomic, environmental and behavioral factors collectively referred to as drivers of health (DOH).

Efforts to address DOH are growing yet remain diffuse, lacking clear expectations as to the appropriate role of healthcare payors, providers and regulators. Scalable, sustainable integration of DOH into the healthcare system requires greater alignment of financial incentives, development of shared assets—such as information exchange platforms and community-based social services networks—and new expectations about the role of healthcare providers and payors as employers, anchor institutions in their communities and stewards of public funds.

In “Investing in Health: A Federal Action Plan,” a new white paper prepared in partnership with The Health Initiative on behalf of Blue Shield of California Foundation and The Commonwealth Fund, Manatt Health lays out seven strategies to address DOH and associated policy and program changes for Medicaid, Medicare, the Marketplace and the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Innovation, and 44 specific federal policy changes to implement those strategies under existing legislative authority. The paper recommends that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services spearhead the effort, leveraging its purchasing power, regulatory authority and bully pulpit to help change the paradigm of what the health system can and should achieve and to better align incentives for states, payors and communities.

To access the full white paper, click here. To access Manatt Health’s recently published state action plan, click here.

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