About This Initiative

The Going Below The Surface initiative was launched by the National Pharmaceutical Council in 2018 to broaden and improve the conversation around how we use health care resources in the United States. The initiative is aimed at better understanding the roots of the nation’s health investments by promoting a discussion that is firmly based in health policy and systems research. The goal is to provide clarity on how best to optimize health care spending so that patients receive the right care while simultaneously providing the right incentives to sustain next-generation innovation to improve patient well-being and health system efficiencies.

Our Mission: A Sustained, Productive and Informed Dialogue

To get at the root of what is driving health care spending in the United States, we need to bring all stakeholders together to ask some tough, “third rail”-types of questions. For example, how could we be spending more effectively on health care, and upon what? Should health care resources be shared equally or geared toward the few who are most ill? Can we identify the specific areas where we can cut spending, and will that allow us to invest more in next-generation innovation? Our mission is to have a sustained, productive and informed dialogue to address these questions. Dialogue can take place in many types of venues, from print and online to in-person meetings. As Going Below The Surface evolves, it will bring together an expert group of stakeholders, from all segments of health care, creating a forum to look for areas of shared interest and agreement, rather than pointing fingers. To date, the following stakeholders have agreed to partner on having this important dialogue:

An initial partnership with Health Affairs will focus on health systems research and engage in web-based and in-person dialogue, including public conferences, as a way of ensuring a broad exploration into these questions.

Why There is a Need for the Conversation

Reinforcing the need for a conversation is the fact that various credible and evidence-based sources (both independent and government) arrive at differing figures for overall health care spending and how it breaks down across different categories.

  • In 2016, the United States spent $3.3 trillion on health care, equating to 17.9% of the nation’s GDP (CMS, 2017).
  • The Altarum Institute estimates that between 2015 and 2025, prescription pharmaceuticals will account for 14.3 percent to 15.3 percent of national health expenditures. (Altarum Institute, 2017).

About the National Pharmaceutical Council

The National Pharmaceutical Council (NPC) is a health policy research organization dedicated to the advancement of good evidence and science, and to fostering an environment in the United States that supports medical innovation. Founded in 1953 and supported by the nation’s major research-based biopharmaceutical companies, NPC focuses on research development, information dissemination, education and communication of the critical issues of evidence, innovation and the value of medicines for patients. NPC does not engage in lobbying activities. Visit NPCNow.org