Screen readers: Two navigational links to follow.Skip to site navigation.Skip to page content.
The University of Iowa News Services
The University of Iowa News Services Home News Releases UI in the News Subscribe to UI News Contact Us

University of Iowa News Release


July 27, 2009

Iowa committee issues five principles to guide health care reform

To help guide the debate on health care reform, the Iowa Committee for Value in Healthcare has identified five principles for high-value, fiscally responsible health care reform at the federal level.

The committee, comprised of a diverse group of Iowa health care providers, purchasers, payers, patient advocates and policy analysts, today sent the document to President Obama, members of the Iowa congressional delegation and other key policymakers to serve as guidelines in the national discussion on health care reform.

"Iowa demonstrates good quality health care at a low cost and should be a model for health reform at the national level," said Christopher Atchison, a member of the committee and associate dean for public health practice in the University of Iowa College of Public Health. "With this document, we are trying to focus reform discussions not just on cost, but more importantly, on value in the service and outcomes."

"The publication released today by the Iowa Committee for Value in Healthcare should be required reading for the president and Congress as they negotiate the details of health care reform legislation," said Sara Imhof, Midwest regional director for The Concord Coalition and member of the committee. "The consensus-based principles agreed upon by members of the committee can be used to evaluate any plan's ability to improve the current system.

"Moreover, satisfying these principles should serve as a prerequisite for the adoption of a plan seeking to remedy the country's health care ills," Imhof said.

The committee identified the following consensus-based principles:

Principle 1: Fiscal Sustainability. Rapid health care cost growth makes our current health care system fiscally unsustainable. We cannot pretend that resources are unlimited or that sure and swift savings will come from investments in comparative effectiveness research, health care technology and prevention programs.

Principle 2: Innovation through Collaboration. The future of health care will require a new level of innovation that can be best achieved by high levels of formal and informal collaborations among all health care stakeholders.

Principle 3: Primary Care Transformation. Elevating the role and use of primary care -- and the ability to more effectively coordinate with acute-care specialty services and long-term or community-based care -- is essential for the transformation of our health care system.

Principle 4: Societal Commitment to Prevention and Wellness. Prevention and wellness must be included in governmental and business policy reform and third-party coverage arrangements.

Principle 5: Engaged and Responsible Health Care Consumers. Health reform initiatives should encourage and set expectations for a more active role for the health care consumer.

Failure to incorporate such principles, the committee cautioned, would likely weaken any effort's ability to produce long-term sustainability. To read the document in its entirety, visit

The Iowa Committee for Value in Healthcare was formed earlier this year by The Concord Coalition in partnership with the University of Iowa College of Public Health and the Iowa Healthcare Collaborative.

The committee is part of The Concord Coalition's Fiscal Stewardship Project, which encourages regional Fiscal Advisory Councils across the country to formulate policy prescriptions for addressing the nation's long-term fiscal imbalance. For more information on this project, visit:

STORY SOURCE: The University of Iowa College of Public Health Office of Communications and External Relations, 4257 Westlawn, Iowa City, Iowa 52242

MEDIA CONTACT: Debra Venzke, 319-335-9647,