Press Release

West Health convenes national summit calling for bold action to lower the cost of healthcare in America

4 min
February 12, 2018

Atul Gawande, Steve Forbes, Mark McClellan, Andy Slavitt and Sanjay Gupta join others to chart path forward on making healthcare more affordable

WASHINGTON, DC – Feb. 12, 2018 – West Health, a family of nonpartisan, nonprofit organizations focused on healthcare research, policy and philanthropy, has added business leader Steve Forbes, CNN’s Sanjay Gupta, MD; Kaiser Health News’ Elisabeth Rosenthal, MD; and Vox’s Sarah Kliff to its Healthcare Costs Innovation Summit, which will also feature surgeon and The New Yorker staff writer Atul Gawande, MD, and former CMS administrators Mark McClellan, MD, and Andy Slavitt. The one-day summit is focused on advancing solutions to America’s healthcare cost crisis

The Feb. 21 summit will bring together hundreds of leaders and representatives from every sector of healthcare to further adoption of models of value-based care, pricing transparency, the role of patients and providers in driving down costs, and a path forward to improving efficiencies in the healthcare system. The goal is to spotlight the best ideas, innovations and practical policy solutions that slow the unsustainable trajectory of healthcare costs in America.

“For far too long, Americans have paid too much for their healthcare and gotten too little in return,” said Shelley Lyford, president and CEO of West Health. “We understand the root causes of rising healthcare costs. Now we need the courage and conviction to implement the fundamental changes required to make healthcare affordable, accessible, sustainable and quality-driven.”

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 (CMS), national health spending was $3.3 trillion in 2016 and accounted for 17.9 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). An estimated one in three Americans report having difficulty paying their medical bills, which is one of the leading causes of personal bankruptcy. Rising costs have made healthcare extremely expensive, leaving patients with less coverage, more out-of-pocket costs and rising premiums.

“We have to move beyond the politics of Washington to deliver sustainable, high quality and affordable healthcare to every American,” said summit speaker Andy Slavitt, Board Chair of United States of Care and former Acting Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. “This is why I’m so pleased to join the summit and see so many healthcare and business leaders, patient advocates and former government officials, coming together to put health ahead of politics and good and common-sense ideas into action.”

The Summit will be held from 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018 in the amphitheater at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, D.C. The event, which will be webcast online, is free and open to the public. Registration is required and seating is limited. For more information or to register to attend or watch online, visit

Other speakers at the Summit include:

  • • Elliott S. Fisher, MD, MPH, director, Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice
  • • Mark E. Miller, PhD, vice president of healthcare, Arnold Foundation
  • • Martin Gaynor, PhD, E.J. Barone Professor of Economics and Public Policy, Carnegie Mellon University
  • • Shelley Lyford, president and CEO, West Health
  • • Tim Lash, chief strategy officer, West Health
  • • Lewis G. Sandy, MD, executive vice president, UnitedHealth Group
  • • Mark D. Smith, MD, MBA, clinical professor of medicine, UC San Francisco
  • • Hoangmai Pham, MD, MPH, vice president, provider alignment solutions, Anthem
  • • Carol Raphael, senior advisor at Manatt Health Solutions
  • • Seth Sternberg, co-founder and CEO, Honor

West Health will publish, distribute and support implementation of the recommendations from the Healthcare Costs Innovation Summit with elected officials, policymakers, health systems, insurers and other stakeholders through an ongoing collaboration between West Health summit participants.

“The rising cost of healthcare is a major threat to our economy, our financial security and our individual health,” said Tim Lash, chief strategy officer for West Health. “We have to slow the trajectory of the cost of healthcare and drive value-based, comprehensive care payment models. The time for real action is now.”

Visit for more information and join the conversation on Twitter using #HCcosts and #HCIDC.

About West Health
Solely funded by philanthropists Gary and Mary West, West Health includes the nonprofit and nonpartisan Gary and Mary West Health Institute and Gary and Mary West Foundation in San Diego, and the Gary and Mary West Health Policy Center in Washington, D.C. These organizations are working together toward a shared mission dedicated to enabling 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. For more information, visit and follow @westhealth.

Media Contact:
Tim Ingersoll
West Health