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Wednesday, September 26th 2018
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Debates / Upcoming Debates

Retail Alliances – Not Washington – Will Save the U.S. Health Care System

Wednesday, September 26th 2018
06:00 - 07:30 PM EST
Mayo Civic Center
30 Civic Center Dr SE

Debate Details

Last year, Intelligence Squared U.S. and the Mayo Clinic brought to the stage a bold inquiry about whether health care in the United States is terminally broken. And this year, we’re picking up where that discussion left off, against the backdrop of corporate behemoths announcing mergers that, they say, are sure to shake up health care – from the Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and JPMorgan Chase venture, to the CVS-Aetna deal, to the Humana-Walgreens partnership, and more. But while these superpower alliances are making a splash in the headlines, will they actually be able to disrupt, and save, U.S. health care? Proponents argue that the bargaining power and data competencies of these retailers will squeeze middlemen out of an inefficient supply chain and bring more transparency to health care pricing. But others argue that the promise of these novel efforts is overstated or misguided, particularly because U.S. health care is so complex and deeply rooted. Will consumer-focused models and employer-led initiatives lead to better and less expensive outcomes?



The Debaters

For the motion

Rajaie Batniji

Dr. Rajaie Batniji

Co-Founder & Chief Health Officer, Collective Health

Dr. Rajaie Batniji is a physician, political economist, and the co-founder of, and chief health officer at, Collective Health, an organization that... Read More

W. Gregg Slager

Senior Partner & Global Health Transactions Leader, EY

W. Gregg Slager is senior partner at the leading firm Ernst & Young and a founder of the company's global health sector. He currently serves as... Read More

Against the motion

Dr. Lisa Bielamowicz

Dr. Lisa Bielamowicz

Co-Founder & President, Gist Healthcare

Dr. Lisa Bielamowicz is the co-founder and president of Gist Healthcare. Her work combines national-level insight with a deep understanding of local... Read More

Rosemarie Day

Rosemarie Day

Founder & CEO, Day Health Strategies

Rosemarie Day is founder and CEO of Day Health Strategies. She has over 25 years of experience in the public, private, and non-profit sectors, including... Read More

Where Do You Stand?

For The Motion
  • When it comes to ensuring access to high-quality, affordable heath care in America, critics say that Washington has fallen short. Innovative and data-competent retail alliances could leverage competencies to overhaul and streamline this fractured system.
  • By pushing out unnecessary middlemen, ending secret pricing negotiations, and disclosing real pharmaceutical costs, employer-led initiatives, including those with retail partners, may be poised to lower costs and improve outcomes in certain sectors.  
  • Rather than relying on inefficient patient-focused or fee-for-service models, retail-affiliated ventures introduce a consumer-focused approach that could make health care more convenient, accessible, and affordable. 
Against The Motion
  • Critics say that emerging retail alliances lack the institutional knowledge to truly transform the United States’ complex and deeply fragmented health care system. Real change to the system requires both insight and support from experts and lawmakers in Washington.  
  • Retailers and employers are typically in the for-profit business. And eventually, they could focus more on advancing their bottom line – possibly at the expense of affordable and quality health care for consumers and employees. 
  • In trying to disrupt the U.S. health care system, retailers won’t just push out pharmacy benefit managers and health care consultants. As patients start treating medical procedures like shopping at the mall, they could also put family doctors and hospitals out of business.

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