Insurance company CEOs are emerging as unlikely cheerleaders for health care reform, one of the latest being Bruce Broussard, president and CEO of Humana.
Joining a group that includes Mark Bertolini, CEO and chairman of Aetna, and Joseph Swedish, CEO of Blues insurer Anthem, Broussard pointed fingers at many of the major players in health care — insurers, providers and technology companies— as holding back positive change, in a keynote speech to the HIMSS 2015 Annual Conference & Exposition this week in Chicago.
Like Bertolini at HIMSS last year, who predicted major change in the health care system, or Swedish, who has argued for more patient-centered care, Broussard took a strong stand on transforming health care.
“We have to change the focus for how we improve health,” and put the patient at the center, Broussard said. Patients “are not looking just for insurance, they’re looking for someone to help them.” The health care system right now leaves patients confused and struggling to deal with its complexities, he said. “I represent an industry and a company that is part of the problem. We recognize it. We have to make it simpler.”
Providers, for their part, need to fully commit to care based on value instead of volume. “Capacity might have to shrink,” he said.
Prefacing his statement with “this is a little uncomfortable for me,” Broussard said, “the problem is in this room,” which was filled with roughly 5,000 technology executives.
“It’s not that we need more technology, we need to be bold leaders in health care,” he insisted, adding that medical information should not be proprietary. “It is an asset that should be flowing through the system freely.”
Broussard urged the attendees to join in the effort. “We can start with interoperability as the base to bring this all together,” he said.