Q: What’s the one thing in the reform law that you wish more Americans knew about?
A: One of the really exciting features that isn’t an immediate payoff, but I think may have the best long-term bang for our buck, is the real shift we’re making from what we have now as a sickness care system into a real health care system. A lot of benefits, a lot of the framework is getting everybody a health home, making sure that preventive care doesn’t have financial barriers. Trying to intervene early, get more primary care docs, more nurse practitioners, more people who work hard at keeping their patients healthy [rather] than waiting till they get to hospital and treating them when they’re sick.
We spend a whole lot of money compared with most countries around the world, and our health results are pretty mediocre. I’m a big believer that if we can refigure our health incentives, look at quality outcomes, and hopefully get people in healthier condition and keep them there, that overall we’ll have much higher quality at a lower cost and better results.
Q: Is there one thing that everyone in the country could do to be healthier?
A: A little bit of exercise helps a lot. Thirty minutes a day. I think some sort of personal exercise would be a great start.
Q: What role do online health services like WebMD play in educating consumers?
A: I think WebMD is a huge educational tool and actually I’m looking forward to having a much more robust conversation with [WebMD] about ways we can help populate your web site with lots of information about this bill and work together to get information tools out to the American public. For a lot of people, the health system is very difficult to navigate, very complicated to try to figure out what are the choices, how to make cost-effective decisions. You have a great audience who is eager to get information. We’re eager to find ways to get information out to people, so we can do a lot of good work together.