AmeriHealth Caritas CEO: We Can’t Afford Inaction on Inequality. ‘We the People’ Doesn’t Have an Asterisk
National Medicaid managed care leader urges collaboration to build a country with an economy and health care system that includes everyone
AmeriHealth Caritas Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Paul A. Tufano is calling on America’s best minds in government, business, academia and communities to take on the dual problems of eradicating poverty as well as ending racism and racial disparities.
“The risks of inaction are enormous. It means that we're comfortable that your zip code can determine whether you live 10 years longer or not, that we would be comfortable with all of those inequities and disparities that are inconsistent with what we all believe this country is about. There are issues about race in America that we need to solve, that we need to talk about as a country,” said Tufano.
“The Constitution says, ‘We the people.’ There is no asterisk. It doesn’t say well, only some of the people or not minorities or not people who are overcoming poverty. It says, ‘We the people’ — all the people. Let's just work backwards from ‘We the people.’ Let's build a country, let's build an economic system, let's build a health care system that ensures that ‘We the people’ means everybody's included.”
Tufano shared this call to action during a presentation at the CTO Forum’s “Rethink Innovation Strategy: Strategic Leadership of Technology & Innovation” conference, held in collaboration with Harvard Business School. His company, AmeriHealth Caritas, a Medicaid managed care organization delivering health care solutions for those most in need, has aimed to use Medicaid as an equalizer and platform for innovation in addressing the social determinants — factors such as food, shelter, education and employment – that drive both health outcomes and economic mobility.
“We have to have an honest conversation that the way we've managed things in the past, while it's been very successful on a number of levels to give hundreds of millions of people over the last 50 plus years access to the health care system [through the Medicaid program] ... poverty continues to be a problem,” Tufano said. “We think that an investment in the people that we serve, an investment in the Medicaid program, is an investment in America. We all will thrive. We all will be the country that we all want to be when all of us are enjoying as much as we can, the life that we want to live.”
Tufano challenged attendees and their companies to join this national conversation and be part of the solution. “We all need to own this issue of equality and of making sure that everybody gets to truly have an opportunity at the American dream. And so I would ask you, as you go back to your companies, to think about ways that you can get involved with this … the way that we're going to overcome these challenges is by doing it together.”
A video of Tufano’s presentation can be viewed here.
“Paul’s message of action strikes a chord, and calls upon more businesses to step outside of their comfort zone and do their part to create a more just society,” said CTO Forum Founding Chair and President Basheer Janjua. “We are grateful he was able to share the experiences of AmeriHealth Caritas in serving individuals and communities that face immense barriers, and in creating solutions that give them a chance at lasting prosperity.”
CTO Forum was founded to improve cross-industry thought leadership and collaboration. It holds networking and educational events for Fortune 500 companies and other organizations. Attendees include CEOs, chief technology officers, and other executives.