Health in APEC: Creating Economic Prosperity Through Strategic Health Care Investments and Enabling Environments for Business
The National Center for APEC worked closely with health policy stakeholders to develop a report that highlights the positive health and economic outcomes that result from investment in health systems and business friendly regulatory environments. The report goes on to provide details on how APEC is enabling deep, substantial partnerships between the business community, academia and the public sector to address healthcare challenges as well as further promote trade, investment and economic growth in the region.
For further information on the National Center for APEC's work on health, please contact Barbara Hazzard.
Major epidemiological and demographic transitions in APEC economies are creating unique challenges for governments, employers, and healthcare companies alike. For example, while continuing to struggle with infectious diseases, economies are now confronting a rise in non-communicable diseases (NCDs) driven by lifestyle changes and aging populations.
To address these types of challenges, APEC provides a forum that brings together public and private sectors to collaborate on potential solutions. This collaboration provides U.S. industry a channel to encourage APEC officials to consider innovative solutions to pressing social and wellness concerns, and invest in long-term and emerging healthcare issues.
Coordinating U.S. Private Sector Priorities for Health Policy
The National Center for APEC (NCAPEC) works closely with U.S. healthcare companies to advance their regional industry objectives by creating opportunities for direct engagement with government officials. As one example of such engagement, NCAPEC played a key role in organizing the first ever Health Systems Innovation Dialogue. This dialogue was held in advance of the United Nations High-Level Meeting on Non-Communicable Disease, and focused on ways to establish multi-sectoral partnerships to address NCDs in the region. Since this precedent was set in 2011, health ministers, private sector experts, and academia have gathered annually at the APEC High Level Meeting on Health and the Economy to discuss solutions to these and similar issues.
NCAPEC has also highlighted members’ priorities through formal studies and reports, such as the widely-distributed 2013 report entitled, Health in APEC. The report was used to educate APEC officials on emerging health issues and demonstrate industry’s role in responding to those challenges.
Engaging with U.S. Government, APEC Officials, and Academia
The Life Sciences Innovation Forum (LSIF) leads APEC’s work on health and health sciences innovation issues. The group brings together representatives from the highest levels of government, industry, and academia to promote policies that advance innovation in the life sciences industries. With its multisector membership, the LSIF considers scientific, health, trade, economic, and financial implications as it works to address the challenges presented by infectious and chronic diseases, as well as aging populations.
NCAPEC represents U.S. industry’s views in the LSIF, and ensures that its priorities are reflected in the LSIF’s policy discussions and recommendations. As a part of its work with the LSIF, NCAPEC collaborated with the group in 2014 to develop a report entitled, The Impact of Health on Worker Attendance and Productivity in the APEC Region. The study found that poor health contributed to productivity losses in the six APEC economies examined, ranging from 3.5 - 5.3 percent of GDP. The report estimated that losses could grow up to 6.1 percent by 2030.
Building on the interest the report generated, NCAPEC and the LSIF commissioned additional research in 2015 to examine how poor health impacted worker pensions and retirement age. The follow up study found that early retirement caused by poor health resulted in an average GDP loss of 2 percent.
The joint NCAPEC-LSIF health reports were ultimately endorsed by the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) and were the foundation for ABAC’s health recommendations to Health Ministers and APEC Leaders.
In 2016, through the efforts of the LSIF and ABAC, the issue of health and its fiscal impact was discussed with finance officials on the margins of the APEC Finance Ministerial Meeting. Finance officials agreed to further examine recommendations on the fiscal and economic impacts of ill-health in the coming year.
Advocating U.S. Business Priorities in the APEC Business Advisory Council
NCAPEC acts as the Secretariat for the three U.S. executives appointed by the U.S. government to serve on the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC). NCAPEC works with ABAC representatives to develop policy recommendations that are submitted to leaders through the annual ABAC Report to Economic Leaders and annual Letter to Health Ministers. NCAPEC ensures that U.S. industry’s views are reflected in these documents, and fully considered by all ABAC and APEC members.