Press Release

Press Release: West Health’s National Summit Calls for Bold Action to Address America’s Healthcare Cost Crisis

3 min
February 24, 2019

Healthcare Innovation Day 2019 set for April 2 to advance common-sense reforms to slow trajectory of skyrocketing healthcare costs

WASHINGTON, DC – Feb. 25, 2019 – West Health, a family of nonprofit and nonpartisan organizations dedicated to lowering the cost of healthcare and enabling seniors to age successfully, is convening thought leaders and experts from business, media and policy for a national innovation summit in Washington, D.C. on April 2, 2019 to focus on common-sense solutions that address America’s healthcare cost crisis.

West Health’s High Costs, Broken Promises: Healthcare in America Summit will explore the impact that high healthcare costs have on individuals, businesses, the economy and the state of public health. During the day-long summit (free registration to attend or stream here), participants will map out immediate and long-term policy recommendations to deliver on the promise of improving the quality of healthcare in America, while lowering costs, including prescription drug prices.

“The exorbitant cost of healthcare is a growing national crisis and significant public health threat that demands immediate attention, smart policy and bold action,” said Shelley Lyford, president and CEO of West Health. “We can no longer accept empty promises from politicians to rein in healthcare costs while more and more Americans are forced to sacrifice lifesaving treatments and even basic healthcare because they simply cannot afford it. The time for common sense reforms is long overdue.”

The U.S. spends more than any other country on healthcare yet lags behind other developed nations in critical health outcomes including longevity, infant mortality and overall quality of life. According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, healthcare costs topped more than $3.5 trillion in 2017 – $10,739 per person – accounting for 17.9% of GDP. They are expected to rise to almost 20% of GDP by 2026 if current trends continue.

The Summit will feature an unveiling of results from a new national survey from Gallup and the West Health Institute on how skyrocketing healthcare costs are impacting the daily lives of Americans, while top business and healthcare leaders will share their perspectives on how to remake the system. Speakers at the Summit include:

  • John Arnold, Founder and Co-Chair, Arnold Ventures
  • John Bardis, Former Assistant Secretary of Administration for the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
  • Roy Beveridge, MD, Chief Medical Officer, Humana
  • Donna Brazile, Veteran Democratic Political Strategist; Adjunct Professor; Author; and Syndicated Columnist
  • Sylvia Mathews Burwell, Former Secretary, United States Department of Health & Human Services
  • Gail deVore, Diabetes Patient Advocate
  • Mike Ellrich, Healthcare Portfolio Leader, Gallup
  • Sanjay Gupta, MD, Chief Medical Correspondent, CNN
  • Mark Gwynne, DO, President and Executive Medical Director, UNC Health Alliance
  • John Kasich, Former Governor of Ohio, 2011- 2019 and CNN Senior Political Commentator
  • Sarah Kliff, Health Policy Journalist,
  • Tim Lash, MBA, Chief Strategy Officer and Executive Vice President, West Health; President, West Health Policy Center
  • Mike Leavitt, Former Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, three-term Governor of Utah
  • Dan Liljenquist, Senior Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer, Intermountain Healthcare
  • Shelley Lyford, President and CEO, West Health
  • Mark McClellan, MD, PhD, Director and Professor, Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy; Former Administrator, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
  • David Mitchell, President and Founder, Patients For Affordable Drugs
  • Mike Murphy, Political Strategist, Political Analyst for NBC News and Contributing Editor, TIME
  • Michael Peterson, Chairman and CEO, Peter G. Peterson Foundation
  • Bob Schieffer, Former Moderator of “Face the Nation” and Former CBS News Chief Washington Correspondent
  • Kathleen Sebelius, Former Secretary, United States Department of Health & Human Services; Former Governor; State of Kansas
  • Andy Slavitt, MBA, Senior Advisor, Bipartisan Policy Center; Former Acting Administrator, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
  • Adam Stavisky, Senior Vice President, U.S. Benefits, Walmart
  • Lauren Vela, Senior Director, Pacific Business Group on Health


“This national summit will kick-start common sense reforms that have been denied, delayed or deferred because of special interests and misaligned incentives,” said Tim Lash, chief strategy officer for West Health. “Holding on to the status quo while Americans continue to suffer at the hands of misguided and outdated policies is not an option, and stakeholders across the country must engage on these issues and take action.”

The Summit is free to attend or stream; please visit to register.

Learn more at and join the conversation on Twitter using #HCcosts and #HCIDC.

About West Health
Solely funded by philanthropists Gary and Mary West, West Health is a family of nonprofit and nonpartisan organizations including the Gary and Mary West Foundation and Gary and Mary West Health Institute in San Diego, and the Gary and Mary West Health Policy Center in Washington, D.C. West Health is dedicated to lowering healthcare costs to enable seniors to successfully age in place with access to high-quality, affordable health and support services that preserve and protect their dignity, quality of life and independence. Learn more at and follow @westhealth.

Media contact
Tim Ingersoll
West Health