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Blue Shield of California CEO Paul Markovich: These Four Changes Would Cut U.S. Healthcare Spending by $100 Billion Per Year

America’s healthcare system, struggling to contain rising costs, could save more than $100 billion a year if it adapted more quickly to technology advances, said Paul Markovich, president and CEO of Blue Shield of California.

Markovich, speaking at the 39th Annual J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference Monday, called on business leaders and lawmakers to support initiatives such as a digital infrastructure for health records for all Americans to use. He said, “Building a digital health ecosystem such as the one proposed in Gov. Gavin Newsom’s budget for this coming year, would dramatically improve efficiency, enhance health outcomes and reduce costs.” Markovich explained that while healthcare costs for families have soared 55 percent over the past ten years, health quality outcomes have remained flat or even dropped over that same timeframe.

health care productivity slide alone

The good news, according to Markovich, is that this can be turned around relatively quickly. “If we expanded the innovations we’ve modeled here in California across the entire country, it could cut nearly 3 percent off our national health care costs, amounting to more than $100 billion in annual savings,” he said. “The healthcare system needs to catch up. It’s time to replace the fax machine and paper records in favor of a digital health ecosystem that can unleash innovation and make high-quality, affordable care a reality.”

The projected savings, Markovich explained, were overwhelmingly due to healthcare cost reductions achieved by delivering higher quality care, better managing patient needs, and more effectively using healthcare resources.