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Interview With NBGH's Brian Marcotte: Health and Business

Brian Marcotte recently took over the National Business Group on Health. He recently spoke about his vision for the group.

August 7, 2014
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Related Topics: Benefits Design and Communication, Health Care Costs, Health and Wellness, Health Care Benefits
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Taking over a national organization with a longtime and highly visible leader like Helen Darling isn’t easy, but Brian Marcotte is well-suited to be the new president and CEO of the National Business Group on Health. Marcotte took over the Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit coalition on May 1. He recently spoke about his vision for the NBGH and employers’ role in shaping health care.

Workforce: What are the biggest challenges facing benefits managers today?

Brian Marcotte: Trying to understand the new pathways that have emerged for accessing health care, such as public and private exchanges, and for delivering health care such as accountable care organizations and patient-centered medical homes. Also, understanding the players as they jockey for position. You have the consultant community offering private exchanges, you have health plans that are becoming providers, you have providers willing to take on risk to be insurers, and you have employers really trying to engage employees as consumers.

WF: How do you plan to lead the NBGH in addressing those concerns?

Marcotte: [We need to] help employers navigate these new pathways. When it comes to private exchanges, the big challenge for employers is: ‘How do I assess if this makes sense for my organization?’ There aren’t established standards for ACOs, so how do employers assess their effectiveness and efficiency? There’s significant opportunity here if we understand how these new delivery systems compare to the rest of the market.

WF: What role do you see the employers and the NBGH playing in the evolution of health care?

Marcotte: Most of the experimentation and innovation has been driven by employers, whether it’s the push for information transparency, value-based design, consumer-directed health care, reference-based pricing — you can go on and on. The NBGH is the one place where all this experimentation and innovation in health care comes together.

WF: What are the most significant health care policy issues facing large employers today?

Marcotte: The ACA is here to stay, but how do you improve it? How do you take it to the next level? We need to come up with solutions-based policy recommendations for the next round of legislation that is focused on reforming the delivery system.

WF: How has your background prepared you for this new role?

Marcotte: Working in corporate America for 25 years taught me the importance of thinking like a businessperson. I have a pretty good sense, having worked closely with a couple CEOs specifically on health care, of how they think and how you package and put things in front of them. I’ve had a passion for health care my entire career, and I’ve been on the NBGH board for 12 years, so it seemed like the right time and the right place for me to be.  

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