The failure of the Clinton universal health care plan gave rise to a powerful and ongoing discussion about how health care is delivered in the United States, and the cost of that care. Currently, more than 20 percent of Americans are enrolled in one of the estimated 591 health maintenance organizations in this country.
Employers, as the single largest purchasers of health care in the United State, have the potential to play a significant role in holding managed care companies accountable for quality. However, price continues to be the dominant factor in the selection of a health plan for many employers. This report documents the information sources available to employers versus the sources they currently use to choose between competing health plans. To the extent these data are meaningful, HMOs will have useful feedback to improve the quality of their operations. Both developments may ultimately result in healthier and more satisfied health care consumers.