Who doesn’t love Oh, The Places You’ll Go! ? It’s hard to find someone in this country who doesn’t know this Seuss classic. Go on and click for a listen to the story if you don’t quite remember it – or just to hear it again because it’s that good. It’s either been read to you as a child, or you’ve read it to your own child. Someone may have given it to you at graduation or when you began your career, perhaps. Whether you came to know the story at 5 or 25, the optimism it instills is undeniable. And when it comes to US Healthcare, we all could use a little reminding that we are on the economic road to recovery. So where is US Healthcare on its journey with its brains in its head and its feet in its shoes?
Well, the short answer to that is we are unslumping ourselves. “We’ve gotten to the place where the streets are not marked. Where some windows are lighted but mostly they are darked.” Right now the future seems so uncertain, however we are taking some pretty big steps to create a sustainable scenario. CVS is buying Aetna (awaiting regulatory approval), JP Morgan Chase, Amazon and Warren Buffet have formed a venerable Justice League to reign in healthcare costs for their one million employees collectively, and Walmart is vying to purchase Humana. These acquisitions and strategic alliances really represent the choices patient-consumers are making for themselves. They are choosing better value and big business wants to meet and capture that demand. “On and on you will hike, and I know you’ll hike far. You’ll face up to your problems, whatever they are.” Says it all, doesn’t it? We’ve all admitted there’s a problem and now the unslumping has started.
We have a simply-stated mission in healthcare today: Continue to improve outcomes clinically while reducing the cost of care. In practice, it’s one of the biggest feats our country will ever have to pull off to keep the American dream a reality. Events unfolding today in the private sector, along with changing reimbursement models for clinical care, are taking us into uncharted territory. But they are steps forward and, oh, the places we’ll go! “Just never forget to be dexterous and deft, and never mix up your right foot with your left. And will you succeed? Yes you will, indeed. Ninety-eight and three quarters percent guaranteed!”.