RiHcolorIconReinvesting in Health

Together we are working to eliminate low-value, unproven, and potentially dangerous healthcare practices and reinvest in services that drive the greatest possible health improvements.  

The Problem

The U.S. healthcare system is in the midst of an affordability crisis. Healthcare spending consumes 18% of the Gross Domestic Product, and between 2006 and 2016, health insurance premiums rose by 77%. By 2021, healthcare costs could consume half of a typical household’s income. Compounding the problem is that U.S. consumers spend too much on low-value care that provides little clinical benefit, even as it elevates risks for physical, emotional, or financial harms. $750 billion—or one-third of total U.S. healthcare spending—is wasted on errors, inefficiencies, unnecessary treatments, and avoidable complications.

While the U.S. spends more than twice as much of its GDP on health care than any similar nation, we have among the worst population health outcomes. We’re not getting what we pay for. It’s no wonder that Berkshire Hathaway Chair and CEO Warren Buffet called health care “a hungry tapeworm on the American Economy.”

The current fee-for-service payment system incentivizes unnecessary and inefficient care. Providers work in environments that reward focusing on what can be billed and by whom, instead of what the evidence suggests is the best way to deliver care. As a result, high-value services (such as comprehensive perinatal care assessments and home visits) and members of the healthcare workforce (including midwives and doulas) aren’t properly valued.

The Health Activist Network is working alongside the Pittsburgh Regional Health Initiative to strengthen investments in treatments, services, and workforce roles that promote safe, high-quality, and affordable care. Our three primary strategies include testing new bundled payment models, promoting the adoption of Choosing Wisely guidelines, and engaging employers and payers so that they demand value.


The data driving us:

  • $750 billion, or one-third of healthcare spending, is wasted in the U.S. (National Academies)
  • Healthcare spending now consumes 18% of the Gross Domestic Product. (Health Affairs)
  • Between 2006 and 2016, health insurance premiums rose by an average of 77%. (Kaiser Family Foundation)
  • 20% of the population is exposed to an unnecessary service. (MedInsight Health Waste Calculator)