Berwick wants health plans to help lower costs

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Donald Berwick is asking insurers to help contribute to a health system with lower costs without withholding patient care.

Berwick said he wants a "full partnership" with the insurance industry, but also indicated that he will be tough on those who resist change, according to the Washington Post.

In a speech before insurance companies, Berwick outlined a role insurers can play redesigning the nation's healthcare system, by focusing more on primary care and collaborating with doctors and hospitals, Bloomberg Businessweek reports. He also called on insurers to help change the way care is paid for and measured for quality.

On how to lower costs, Berwick said insurers must help in "eliminating waste and needless hassles" but gave few other specifics. He also cautioned insurers against perpetuating the system under which doctors get paid more if they do more procedures, according to the Wall Street Journal.

"I think he was very straightforward, that we can actually play a role along with other stakeholders in improving care, and we're committed to doing that," Karen Ignagni, chief executive officer of America's Health Insurance Plans, told Bloomberg in response to Berwick's remarks.

To learn more:
- here's the Bloomberg Businessweek article
- read the Wall Street Journal article
- read the Washington Post article

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