The United States now stands on the cusp of important expansion in access to affordable health insurance coverage that was promised in the enactment of federal health reform legislation in 2010. As actors and stakeholders throughout the health system prepare for a surge in the insured population, leaders are looking ahead to the looming challenges that will move to center stage as the crisis of the uninsured recedes: How can we reduce the heavy burden of health care cost growth on our nation’s families, employers, state budgets, and federal health care programs? And, in the face of significant disparities in health outcomes across population groups and between the United States and other developed nations, how can we strengthen our health system to provide better care and better health for all?
One intriguing perspective on these challenges comes in taking a close look at how those who are the sickest, neediest, and most vulnerable fare in today’s health care system. Could changes to make the health care system work more effectively and efficiently for those in greatest need serve to make the health care system stronger and more sustainable for all?
At the 2012 GIH Fall Forum, members of the health philanthropy community engaged with leaders from the frontlines of health care delivery to tackle the problem of how to produce better health and health care for the neediest and most vulnerable patients. This monograph distills some of the main messages, ideas, and arguments presented in discussions at the forum.