Andy Slavitt Forms Affordable Health Care-Focused Organization United States of Care
Andy Slavitt, the former acting administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services during the Obama administration, announced Wednesday that he’s formed an organization taking aim at affordable health care.
The organization, United States of Care, is a non-partisan, non-profit collaboration between more than 50 prominent health care leaders with backgrounds in policy, patient advocacy, clinical work, business and innovation, among other strengths.
Through United States of Care, they hope to “ensure that every single American has access to quality, affordable healthcare regardless of health status, social need or income,” according to the group’s official press release.
The introduction of United States of Care comes just a week after news broke that Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase would be teaming up to form a company devoted to minimizing cost and increasing quality of their own employee health plans, as noted by the Star Tribune.
Operating in a loosely related vein but with a different focus, Slavitt’s United States of Care will work on grass roots efforts to inspire and foster support for policies and solutions that suit most Americans.
The nonprofit won’t participate in lobbying, said Slavitt in the release, but it will bring its initial and soon-to-be-acquired knowledge to state and federal lawmakers to formulate economically and politically sustainable ideas addressing health care issues.
United States of Care will be guided by three principles: every American should have a regular source of affordable care; no American should face financial devastation due to illness or injury; and solutions must be fiscally responsible and have broad political support.
Through a national “listening tour,” United States of Care will hear from various stakeholders, and it will immediately begin developing resources and growing expertise, aiming to deliver real and enduring results.
Approximately 28 million people in the U.S. don’t have health insurance coverage, the release stated, and even those with coverage can face devastating out-of-pocket costs. A recent survey commissioned by United States of Care found that a majority of engaged voters across partisan lines—as many as nine in ten—agreed Americans need to put health care over politics and work together towards a solution, yet partisan power struggles have so far stymied such efforts.
“United States of Care will chart a path toward a long-term health care solution, starting by checking allegiances at the door and putting the patient—our citizens—first,” said Bill Frist, M.D., former Senate Majority Leader (Republican) and member of the United States of Care Board, in the press release. “The health of our nation is more important than any political party or partisan victory.”
Removing politics from the issue is the organization’s resounding mission, and Slavitt solidified that goal by recruiting a bipartisan board of directors, including Frist, former Democratic governor of Kentucky Steve Beshear, and several other politicians from both the Republican and Democratic parties.
“Time and time again, political agendas have wreaked havoc on health care initiatives, with outcomes favoring only certain Americans,” said Slavitt, a resident of Edina. “It’s time to… engage in a dialogue with people across the country to find sustainable solutions that work for everyone.”
Even some celebrities – with star power to lend – are involved, including businessman and TV personality Mark Cuban, and actors Bradley Whitford, Jon Favreau and Andy Richter.
For his part, Slavitt offers a wealth of experience in the health care industry. Before working under Obama and leading implementation of the administration’s health law, Slavitt was an executive at Minnetonka-based UnitedHealth Group. While in that role, Slavitt steered the rescue of the federal government’s then maligned HealthCare.gov website.
Sometime after the rescue, Slavitt joined the Obama administration and ultimately landed the job of acting director of the CMS, which was the entity responsible for making the systemic changes under the Affordable Care Act.
“Affordable health care should be available to every American, without exception,” said Slavitt. “Americans shouldn’t be healthy only if they’re lucky enough to afford it, and they shouldn’t have to wait for Washington to figure this out.”
United States of Care will have headquarters in Minnesota and Washington, D.C., and expects to employ up to 15 people total in its first year.