Sramana Mitra: There are two issues that I see here. Your point is well-taken that you’re catering to the corporates and so forth, but there are more and more people in the world who are on their own and are not part of a large corporation. Individual healthcare programs are unattractive. Even small business healthcare programs are very unattractive. Not everything can be tackled with this general physician kind of mode. There are lots of specialist issues.
John Palumbo: That is certainly a point of view.
Sramana Mitra: Do you not agree with this point of view?
John Palumbo: I can’t speak about one person’s definition of unattractive. I’d say that our members are very happy with the level of service that they get from us. Everybody does need insurance. There’s no one fix for a large episodic in-patient stay. You need to have insurance so you can get coverage. My point is that over time, the consumer will be more informed.
We believe that, between the employers and the government, they’re going to force the providers to measure themselves on quality, value, and price, which is a very important factor. As more transparency occurs, you will be able to pick the right doctor for the right medical need. Hopefully, that makes it easier.
Sramana Mitra: What is the driver for that?
John Palumbo: The government. The government is forcing it because they’re changing the reimbursement models. It’s the same way that they forced physicians to do electronic medical records. The first phase is you do it with a little bit of a carrot and then after a few years, it becomes a stick. That’s how you force change when you have a healthcare system that’s 60% if paid by the government.
Our system is what our system is. I’m not here to pontificate whether one should support a one-tier system or a two-tier system. I think that we are where we are. There’s a tremendous opportunity to help people. The one thing that we know about healthcare is it’s constantly changing. The one thing that we know for sure is we’ve never lowered the cost of healthcare by doing benefit-designed changes in insurance plans. That has never changed the ultimate cost of healthcare.
The only way you’re going to do it is to focus on population health, offer broader services, identifying people where they’re at, educating them, and getting them the kind of care when they need it so they get the right care, at the right price, at the right time. We think we’re tackling a portion of that. We certainly can’t fix the entire healthcare ecosystem.
Sramana Mitra: Great. Thank you for your time.