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AMA, AHIP, and Others Unite to Form Healthcare Transformation Organization


The new Partnership for America’s Health Care Future has enormous reach. But what it will do remains unknown.

The new Partnership for America’s Health Care Future has enormous reach. But what it will do remains unknown.

Healthcare is changing in countless ways: New technology is reshaping treatment and physician workflows; outside conglomerates are closely eyeballing the industry (and the money it generates); health systems are rapidly consolidating; insurers and retail pharmacies are comingling; and Washington, DC, still remains unsure of how to regulate and structure all of it.

No one is sure what the future holds, but some venerable industry groups announced last week that they would be joining forces to hopefully shape (or perhaps brace for) whatever may come.

>>>READ: What Will Andy Slavitt's All-Star Health Organization Do?

For a collaboration with such noteworthy members, the new Partnership for America’s Health Care Future (PAHCF) launched somewhat quietly, and with few specifics. What we do know is that it contains America’s largest insurance industry trade group (America’s Health Insurance plans, or AHIP), the largest physician advocacy organization (the American Medical Association—the AMA), a sizable specialty group (American College of Radiology—ACR), and a number of other organizations (including the Healthcare Leadership Council and the Federation of American Hospitals).

Materials regarding the PAHCF are detail-sparse: On a page titled “The Issues” the group lists “Affordability”, “Options”, “Access”, “Quality”, and “Innovation” as its sole pursuits, each with a 1-sentence descriptor.

Erik Smith, a spokesman for PAHCF, went only a bit further. He told Healthcare Analytics News™ that the group would look for “commonsense solutions” around ideas like “strengthening employer-provided coverage enjoyed by more than 180 million Americans, protecting the health care safety net provided by Medicaid, maintaining Medicare for our nation's seniors, and stabilizing the individual market place.”

Smith called the new collaboration a “diverse, patient-focused organization,” although its representation is currently heavy on insurance, pharmaceutical, and provider trade groups.

While PAHCF’s mechanisms and stances remain relatively opaque, its influential member organizations could give it substantial reach—and it isn’t done growing. Smith said that the Partnership is currently focused on adding new members that are interested in “pragmatic solutions that protect and build on what works in our health care system and fixes what is not.”

The repeated emphasis on words like “pragmatic” and “commonsense” might be key: As Mike Stankiewicz of Fierce Healthcare keenly points out, a few of the industry giants who have agreed to join the PAHCF might have opposing viewpoints on important issues. Provider advocates and insurance industry trade groups don’t always align on the costs associated with one another’s services.

Many seem to agree on the need to control drug prices, including the Association for Accessible Medicines (formerly the Generic Pharmaceutical Association) which lobbies for the expansion of generic rights and biosimilar access. The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) was also announced as an initial member of the group.

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