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5 Quotes from Azar's World Health Care Congress Speech

By Steven Porter  
   May 02, 2018

The HHS secretary focused his message on the long-running transformation toward a value-based healthcare delivery system.

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar addressed the World Health Care Congress in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday morning with an optimistic message.

Although policy wonks have been talking for years about healthcare's shift to a value-based delivery system, the time for action has finally come, Azar said.

"Today, we have a president who is unafraid to drive the disruption we need. President Trump is a man of courage and vision," he said in his prepared remarks. "He has seen and heard how the high cost of healthcare is burdening so many Americans; he understands that our system too often fails to deliver value; and he has given us a mandate to do something about it."

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Azar outlined four priorities for HHS earlier this year. In his speech Wednesday, he homed in on the first: the long-running transformation toward value-based care.

Here are five notable quotes from his speech:

  1. On free-market forces: "[V]alue is not accurately determined by arbitrary authorities or central planners. The best way to identify and reward value is a marketplace of many players—providers, patients, and, where necessary, third-party payers."
  2. On the need for transparency: "For individuals to drive value, they must have access to data on price and quality. Knowledge is power, and knowing prices and outcomes can enable every American to find better, cheaper healthcare."
  3. On possible new models: "Arrangements like direct primary care have generated tremendous interest from both patients and providers. They can offer the opportunity for seniors to receive convenient, accessible primary care from a physician they know at a predictable and affordable cost. Better access to primary care, as we all know, can prevent more serious and costly ailments."
  4. On overcoming barriers: "[W]e are well aware of the huge burden that regulation places on so many healthcare professionals, and we are working to reduce that burden where we can."
  5. On lowering drug prices: "There’s little difference for a sick patient between a miracle cure that hasn’t been discovered and one that is too expensive to use. I believe we can help lower the cost of medicine while still promoting research that will transform the future of care. Doing both is the only way forward."

Steven Porter is an associate content manager and Strategy editor for HealthLeaders, a Simplify Compliance brand.

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