The rising cost of healthcare in the United States is a growing crisis of epic proportions that undermines America’s economy, compromises care, drains resources, and threatens financial security. Increased spending continues to impact family budgets. Bloated costs reduce America’s ability to invest in other vital programs. Every dollar wasted on an expensive and inefficient healthcare system is a dollar that cannot be used to educate America’s children, care for our country’s seniors, strengthen our nation’s infrastructure, or defend our borders. As Warren Buffett has said, “The ballooning costs of healthcare act as a hungry tapeworm on the American economy.”
To tackle this critical issue, it is imperative to understand why the United States is spending so much, gain in-depth knowledge of the cost drivers, and identify policies that can slow the trajectory of cost while improving patient access and quality of care. That’s why, on February 21, 2018, West Health—a family of nonpartisan, nonprofit organizations focused on healthcare research, policy and philanthropy — convened an innovation summit in Washington, D.C., to address America’s healthcare cost crisis. The summit featured a broad range of healthcare thought leaders—including Steve Forbes, Atul Gawande, Mark McClellan, and Andy Slavitt—who shared their thoughts on how we can advance the most effective ideas, innovations, and practical policy solutions.