What’s Wrong with this Picture? Health Care System Waste and How Employers Can Take Action–By: Carolyn Pare, Action Group President and CEO



A close friend and colleague recently shared some troubling news. Despite having a respectable income and health insurance, she has been off her blood pressure and cholesterol medications for several months because she can’t afford the hundreds of dollars for the office/lab visit required to renew her prescriptions.


The prescriptions themselves are $18 and $22, but her insurance is $1,200/month — for a $13,000 deductible policy — making “routine care” inaccessible. And she’s far from alone. This June 2019 KFF report is a wake-up call. Costs have become prohibitive to Americans seeking or adhering to health or dental care. Fear about the cost of needed care affects the uninsured and insured alike. HALF of U.S. adults say they or a family member delayed or skipped care because of costs.

And this turmoil is occurring while the U.S. health care system wastes $765 billion annually — about a quarter of all the money that is spent. From low- or no-value (and even harmful) care, to fraud and abuse, to administrative complexity, to lack of transparency, to poor care coordination, to outrageous prices, to unconscionable executive salaries, to a lack of accountability, to pervasive health illiteracy.


What’s wrong with this picture? And how can Action Group members and other employers present a united front to bring about change? Let’s bring some manageable action steps into focus.


It’s clear that combating waste requires employers, employees, health plans, care systems, patients, providers, consultants, vendors and others to work together. And while there is so much wrong with the U.S. health care picture, employers can help make it right by using their unique sphere of influence to drive crucial change at their organizations, in their communities, across Minnesota, and throughout the country.

Carolyn Pare is the President and Chief Executive Officer of The Minnesota Health Action Group