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03/20/2019

Interview with America's Health Insurance Plans' (AHIP) CEO Matt Eyles (March 19th)

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Despite gains made under the ACA, health insurance coverage in the US remains fraught with problems.  Over 28 million non-elderly remain uninsured.  Health care spending is extreme.  Health care coverage is the most expensive worldwide in absolute terms and relative to average incomes – despite the fact Americans consume no more or fewer health care resources than our comparative peers.  In 2018, an insurance premium for a family of four was $19,616 or almost one-third of median household income of $61,372.  Several factors explain this.   Among others, while Medicare spending per capita decreased by 1.2% between 2007 and 2014 however for private insurance spendingincreased per capita by 16.9%.  Rapidly rising drug prices, that account for 17% of all national health spending, are two times as much as comparative countries.  Americans also pay substantial health care administrative costs that equaled $259 billion in 2017, or nearly four times average of other developed countries.  (We spend more on health care administration the UK spends on all of health care.)  Relative to outcomes, US life expectancy at birth, that has declined for the past three years (for the first time in a century), is exceeded by 79 countries.  Per a recent Bloomberg health efficiency study, the US ranked 54th out of 56 countries.  Hong Kong, Singapore and Spain ranked 1 through 3, the US fell between Azerbaijan and Bulgaria.

During this 29 minute conversation Mr. Eyles answers whether health care coverage is a right or a privilege, notes AHIP's position on Texas v. Azar, discusses the problem of consolidated insurance markets, i.e., lack of market competition and what can be done about it.  He responds to questions concerning the health care sectors efforts at measuring for value (outcomes achieved relative to spending), the Medicare Advantage (Part C) program, the future of the insurance industry, what it is doing to address or prepare for the health effects of climate change and we conclude with his brief comment regarding Medicare for All. 

Matthew (Matt) Eyles has served as President and CEO of America's Health Insurance Plans or AHIP (the national trade association representing commercial health insurance Downloadproviders) for one year.  Mr. Eyles joined AHIP in 2015 to lead its Policy and Regulatory team and served as Chief Operating Officer just prior to his current position.  Just previously, he served in several senior positions at Coventry Health Care (now an Aetna company) and with Wyeth (now a subsidiary of Pfizer).  He also was employed by Avalere Health, a DC-based consulting firm, where his worked moreover concerned pharmaceutical industry issues.  Mr. Eyles began his career at the Congressional Budget Office where he examined an array of health care policy topics.  Mr. Eyles serves on the Board of Directors of the National Health Council and previously on the Board of the Network for Excellence in Health Innovation (NEHI).  He earned his undergraduate degrees in history and political science from The George Washington University and a graduate degree in public Policy from the University of Rochester. 

For information on AHIP go to: https://www.ahip.org/.

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