By Pension and Benefits Editorial Staff
Eliminating the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) excise tax on high-cost health plans (also known as the “Cadillac” tax) is the ERISA Industry Committee’s (ERIC) number one health priority for Congress in the coming year. ERIC submitted a letter to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions to provide specific legislative solution for reducing health care costs. The other two priorities listed were eliminating surprise medical billing and addressing high prescription drug costs.
“The 116th Congress has the opportunity to make historic advances in the quality and cost reduction of health care in this country,” said James Gelfand, senior vice president of health policy at ERIC. “ERIC believes by the addressing the changes we outlined in our letter, plan sponsors and their beneficiaries will save more than a trillion dollars and be able to make better decisions about their care through more transparent policies.”
ERIC suggested several ways to address the crisis, including:
- ensuring changes to the rebate system reduce costs and preserve the ability to negotiate;
- addressing patent evergreening;
- banning abusive couponing;
- banning abusive practices such as pay-for-delay and misuse of patient safety protocols; and
- easing value-based contracting for prescription drugs and devices.
In addition to the three priority areas, ERIC also laid out other areas for bipartisan cooperation, as follows:
- providing relief for health savings accounts (HSAs) and high deductible health plans (HDHPs);
- providing clarity on wellness programs;
- preventing abuse by “Big Dialysis”;
- implementing value-driven innovations in Medicare;
- providing market stabilization and employer mandate relief; and
- empowering states to address air ambulance issues.
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