Employers' Group Launches Biggest Campaign In 20 Years: To Contain Health Costs

The biggest employers' group in the state has just launched its biggest issue campaign in two decades: a push to stem the ever-spiraling growth in the cost of health care. From the Associated Industries of Massachusetts press release:

The Employers’ Campaign for Affordable Health will ensure that lawmakers, employers, doctors, hospitals and insurers seize what may be their best opportunity to restructure the financial underpinnings of the Commonwealth’s health care system. The initiative will include lobbying, grass-roots organizing and public information, along with educational programs designed to prepare employers for the difficult decisions they will have to make as part of the process of controlling their health premiums.

The campaign marks the largest single project undertaken by AIM and its thousands of member employers since the organization led the reform of workers compensation system in 1991. The close parallels between the workers compensation reform and the current health insurance crisis offer hope that the same business/government coalition that worked together to lower workers comp rates by 60 percent at the start of the Weld administration can do the same with health care at the dawn of the second Patrick administration.

“We believe that change is in the air for positive action to address the cost of health care now. Employers simply cannot wait any longer for relief.” Said Richard Lord, AIM’s president & CEO.

The complete release is here, and it's chock-full of useful figures and analyses. But what does it mean concretely, that AIM will run a campaign? I pulled this from the bottom of the release:

The process is complex and will require involvement from everyone. Employers must become more knowledgeable insurance buyers. Consumers must develop the same acumen for comparing medical services that they use to purchase automobiles. Doctors and hospitals must look in the mirror and address the staggering price differentials among practitioners and institutions within Massachusetts. And all providers of health care and services must minimize the share of premium dollars they spend on administration.

The time is now. And the Employers’ Campaign for Affordable Health is committed to making it happen.

The campaign will move into high gear on May 13 when the AIM Annual Meeting hosts a discussion among some of the nation’s foremost health care experts on the challenges of controlling health costs. In late May and early June, AIM will conduct a series of seven seminars entitled “What’s Your Health Care Solution?” that will help employers understand what drives health costs and how to control premiums.

This program aired on April 20, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.

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Carey Goldberg Editor, CommonHealth
Carey Goldberg is the editor of WBUR's CommonHealth section.



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