By Pension and Benefits Editorial Staff
Sixty-one organizations have sent a letter to Congress urging them to pass the Lower Health Care Costs Act (S. 1895). According to the letter, the legislation will help patients, employers, and taxpayers by reducing health care costs.
If S. 1895 is not passed, the organizations offered several suggestions on how lawmakers could reduce costs, such as:
- End surprise medical billing. The employer groups do not support a government-mandated binding arbitration process. Instead, Congress should enact a local, market-based benchmark backstop, where patients are not just protected once they get to the hospital, but also in the ambulance that takes them there.
- Reduce the cost of prescription drugs. To reduce costs, legislation should include provisions to increase choice and competition, speed generic and biosimilar products to market, and end gaming of the current regulatory and patent system, the letter says.
- Require transparency, fairness, and competition. Patients should be protected from anti-competitive contracting practices and gag clauses. Health care claims data should be available to help improve quality and reduce costs, and to ensure patients know what the real cost of their care will be.
- Fund the public health infrastructure. Funding for community health centers and other public programs should be paired with reforms to improve prevention and management of chronic illness and obesity, modernize data systems, and improve maternal and perinatal health.
- Improve health information technology. Congress should bolster health care cost transparency, improve cybersecurity in health care, promote interoperability, and protect patient privacy.
Some of the organizations that signed the letter are: American Bankers Association; American Benefits Council; Corporate Health Care Coalition; Health Services Coalition; HR Policy Association; Independent Electrical Contractors; Midwest Business Group on Health; National Business Group on Health; National Restaurant Association; Self-Insurance Institute of America; The ERISA Industry Committee; and The Leapfrog Group.
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