"Tennesseans' healthcare services should lead to better outcomes and better experiences at a lower cost," U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander said in addressing the 2019 Nashville Health Care Council Fellows class earlier this month.
"Last year, the Senate health committee I chair held five hearings on the cost of healthcare, where we learned that between 30-50 percent of what we spend on healthcare is unnecessary," Alexander said. "This year, I am committed to passing bipartisan legislation to lower the cost of health are for American families."
The comments were made to the group of 28 senior healthcare industry leaders participating in the four-month Council Fellows program, which looks to explore innovative solutions to the challenges facing the American healthcare system.
Alexander continued, "I have asked for input from leading policy experts, doctors, nurses, patients, government officials, and others on what specific steps the federal government could take to reduce the cost of health care, and today I would like to ask you the same question. I believe one thing we can do is make it clear to patients what the price of their care is. Second, we should put that data into the hands of people who know what to do with it - for example, primary care doctors who can recommend the best treatment at the best price. And third, we should make sure they have an incentive to use that information to lower healthcare costs."
Last year, the Senate HELP committee chaired by Alexander held five hearings examining the cost of healthcare. The first hearing established a common understanding of how much healthcare costs. The second hearing explored ways to reduce unnecessary healthcare spending. At the third hearing, the committee focused on ways to reduce the administrative burden on doctors and hospitals, and the fourth hearing focused on finding ways to improve access to information about cost and quality for patients. At the fifth and final hearing of the series, the committee examined what the private sector is doing to encourage innovation.
In December, Alexander sent a letter to leading healthcare experts at the American Enterprise Institute and the Brookings Institution, economists, doctors, nurses, patients, hospital administrators, state regulators and legislators, governors, employers, insurers, and innovators asking them to identify specific ideas about how to reduce healthcare costs for taxpayers, employers, and families. Comments are due by March 1, 2019 to firstname.lastname@example.org.