Andrea Feigl: The Business Case for Private/Public Health Investment Partnerships

OK, real talk. I have taken a bit of heat over the years for trying to make a business case for empathy. When some folks saw my TEDx talk about how to trick leaders into being empathetic by showing them the benefits to the bottom line, they bristled. “How can you convince people to embrace empathy for selfish reasons?! That’s not compassionate at all,’ they said. My perspective has been and will always be that to persuade people to take action, you need to make a case for what’s in it for them to change. It’s basic human nature. And if it gets them there, they can be transformed from the outside in – and we all benefit.

That’s exactly what Andrea Feigl is trying to do. She is making the business case for the private sector to partner with public entities and invest in healthcare. When they do, they cut costs, improve performance – and grow the economy. Andrea calls this a blended finance model and it’s working.

Today, we discuss what blended finance is, what role empathy plays in health impact measurement, and why financing healthcare matters in the impact and finance spaces. We talk about how to measure the impact of healthcare access on companies and the economy, and essentially, how to make the investment case for health, as evidenced recently in blended finance partnerships helping to find and distribute vaccines for COVID.

To access the episode transcript, please click on the episode title at

Key Takeaways:

  • Blended finance means that you leverage public or philanthropic resources to de-risk investments in healthcare by the private sector. It allows for proper investment and accelerated spending and production of whatever you are trying to produce.
  • While many recognize health as a right (not as a privilege), in the private sector, this is not always the belief and it needs to be communicated in language that aligns with the values of the company or investors can understand and relate to.
  • Putting a $1 value on a health state is not an exact science like measuring a cubic meter of carbon emission. It’s informed by our value system. And because it’s informed by our value systems, reasonable people will disagree on what that value should be.

“We see that there is value in caring – not just caring about health for health sake, even though that is important – there’s value for the economy in caring and investing in health appropriately.” —  Andrea Feigl

About Andrea Feigl, CEO, Health Finance Institute

Andrea Feigl, Ph.D. MPH, envisions a world with less suffering from preventable diseases, where every person can live their life with full dignity and reach their fullest potential.

Andrea is the founder & CEO of Health Finance Institute and an adjunct professor at Georgetown University who brings passion and ambition to her work in global health policy, financing, and governance. Outside of her work in healthcare, Andrea is trained as a ballet dancer and holds an international teaching certificate in classical ballet.

Andrea writes and speaks publicly in order to close the knowledge and implementation gap when it comes to global healthcare, especially related to non communicable diseases. She has published reports and papers for Health Policy, the WHO Bulletin, the CUGH Global Health Project of the Year, the Center for Global Development, and WEF/Harvard. Andrea is recognized as the innovator of the Evidenced Formal Coverage Index metric for universal healthcare coverage.

A native of Austria, Andrea received her Ph.D. in global health from Harvard University, her MPH and BSc (First Class Honors) with a full scholarship from Simon Fraser University in Canada, and her IB from Red Cross Nordic United World College in Norway.

When she is not speaking, dancing, or traveling, Andrea enjoys playing the piano, skiing, and spending time with her son at their home in Washington, D.C.

Connect with Andrea Feigl:

Health Finance Institute:



The Health Impact Credit Podcast:

An article on Blended Finance 

The CGD event on assistive technologies:

Last year Skoll Open Forum – recording on solidarity:

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