Will Employers Choose Your Doctors?

February 11, 2016

 
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It was a startling announcement. Twenty large companies have joined to start the Health Transformation Alliance. With approximately four million workers between them, they
 
“plan to share information about members’ employee health spending and outcomes, with an eye toward using findings to change how they contract for care.”
 
The Alliance’s first step “is gathering data on the population health of the employees of the 20 firms,” reports Healthcare Payer News.
 
“Population health” has no agreed upon definition, but is often a euphemism for socialism. See what six of 37 health executives asked to define the term say:
 
“Population health is keeping people healthy in a coordinated fashion for better clinical outcomes at a lower cost.”
 
 “Assuming total health and health care responsibility for a group of individuals”
 
 “a communal effort
 
“a move away from … an individual’s health needs. The concept marks a fundamental shift … with attention directed toward larger, socially grouped needs….”
 
“to include all aspects of health (physical, mental, etc.) and to include the underlying determinants of that health (e.g., poverty, housing, nutrition, exercise, pollution) ….”
 
“The goal is to improve the collective health status of the population at large in a given geographic area.”
 
The Alliance plans to impact the entire “health-care supply chain,” reports The Wall Street Journal. This means your doctor.
 
People interviewed by WSJ hope, “getting data for a large number of people that encompassed health-care networks nationwide could reveal which treatments and health providers had better outcomes in treating certain illnesses. That would allow them to steer workers to specific providers….”
 
Even though patient outcomes often have more to do with patients than doctors, these employers could make it more expensive or all but impossible to go to an employee’s preferred physician.
 
The intrusion is clear: “…now you’ve got four million lives, you can see where people are going for health care, you can see the outcomes,” said Mr. Reed of Verizon.
 
The 20 companies are: American Express, American Water, BNSF Railway Co., Brunswick Corp., Caterpillar Inc., Coca-Cola Co., E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co., HCA Inc., Hartford Financial Services Group Inc., IBM Corp., Ingersoll-Rand, International Paper Co., Lincoln Financial Group, Macy's Inc., Marriott International Inc., NextEra Energy Inc., Pitney Bowes Inc., Shell Oil Co., Verizon Communications Inc., Weyerhaeuser Co.
 
Isn’t it time to leave employer-sponsored coverage behind -- before it joins with insurers and government to socialize American medicine? And wouldn’t you like your entire compensation in cash so you could make your own choices?
 
Transforming health care the right way,
 
Twila Brase, RN, PHN
President and Co-founder