Viewpoint: Vaccine mandates could turn into affordable healthcare mandates

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With the relative success of vaccine mandates in keeping employees safe, company mandates may have the potential to lower healthcare costs as well.

A Sept. 13 post authored by Robert Pearl, former Permanente Medical Group executive director and CEO, argued that recent COVID-19 vaccination mandates should pivot into calls for employers to challenge rising healthcare costs. 

With 5.5 percent annual increases in healthcare rates outpacing inflation, employees historically have opted for high-deductible plans to manage costs. 

Instead of attempting to solve the problem with a single-payer system, Mr. Pearl argued that America's largest companies — which form "the nation’s strongest unofficial payer network" through employer-sponsored plans — rally to hold insurers accountable. 

Mr. Pearl penned a sample letter that includes a five-year deadline for payers to eliminate fee-for-service practices, promote tech-based healthcare solutions and provide cost savings that companies can put back into addressing social determinants of health.

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