Archives     Advertise     Editorial Calendar     Subscribe     Contact Us    


Senate Health Committee Leaders Release Bipartisan Discussion Draft Legislation to Reduce Health Care Costs


 

On May 23, Senate Health Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-Wash.) released the Lower Health Care Costs Act of 2019--bipartisan discussion draft legislation to reduce health care costs.

WATCH VIDEO HERE

"There's one issue I hear a lot about from Tennesseans, and it is, 'What are you going to do about the health care costs I pay for out of my own pocket?' Well, we've got an answer," said Chairman Alexander. "Republicans and Democrats in the United States Senate have announced this proposal of nearly three dozen specific bipartisan provisions that will reduce the cost of what Americans pay for health care. These are common sense steps we can take, and every single one of them has the objective of reducing the health care costs that you pay for out of your own pocket. We hope to move it through the health committee in June, put it on the Senate floor in July and make it law."

"The steps we are taking on important issues like surprise medical billing, drug prices, maternal mortality, and vaccine hesitancy show we can make progress when both sides are at the table ready to put patients and families first," said Ranking Member Murray. "I appreciate the work Democrats and Republicans on our committee are doing and encourage Republicans to continue working with us on the many other health care challenges families face today--including threats to protections for pre-existing conditions as a result of President Trump's health care sabotage."

Since last Congress, the Senate health committee has held five hearings on how to reduce health care costs and four hearings to explore the costs of prescription drugs.

At the conclusion of the last Congress, Chairman Alexander sent to the American Enterprise Institute, the Brookings Institution, governors, state insurance commissioners, doctors, hospitals, patients, and innovators a letter asking for specific recommendations about what Congress could do to help lower the cost of health care services. The Senate health committee plans to mark up this legislation, which is based on those hearings and recommendations, by the end of June.

The Chairman and Ranking Member also commit to continuing to work on two policies with the aim of inclusion in the June markup: the Prescription Drug Rebates Reform Act of 2019, introduced by Senators Romney and Braun, and the Fair Accountability and Innovative Research (FAIR) Act, introduced by Senators Baldwin, Braun, Smith, and Murkowski.

The Senate health committee is requesting comments on the discussion draft. Comments must be submitted to LowerHealthCareCosts@help.senate.gov by 5 PM on Wednesday, June 5, to be considered.

Read the text of the draft bill here.

Read the Section by Section of the draft bill here.

Read the one-pagers for each title of the draft bill:

Title I

Title II

Title III

Title IV

Title V


AHA Statement On Senate Help Committee Draft Legislation On Health Care Costs

Tom Nickels, Executive Vice President, American Hospital Association:

May 23, 2019 - The AHA applauds Chairman Alexander, Ranking Member Murray and the Senate HELP Committee for their interest in addressing the cost of health care in America, a critically important issue for patients and their families and the providers that care for them. Hospitals and health systems understand the importance of making health care more affordable for everyone and have been addressing the issue head on, including redesigning care and improving quality and health outcomes.

We are pleased that the committee proposes making important investments in public health, including efforts to modernize the public health data system and improving maternal health outcomes. We are also supportive of provisions aimed at increasing competition in the prescription drug market and ensuring patient access to these drugs.

Based on our initial review, however, we are concerned about several of the proposals that would allow the government to intrude into private commercial contracts between providers and insurers. Specifically, banning so-called "all or nothing" clauses could lead to even more narrow networks with fewer provider choices for patients, while adversely affecting access to care at rural and community hospitals.

Finally, we continue to work with Congress on a solution to stop surprise bills by removing patients from the middle of reimbursement disputes. Our preferred solution is simple: patients should not be balance billed for emergency services, or for services obtained in any in-network facility. They should therefore have certainty regarding their cost-sharing obligations based on an in-network amount. We strongly oppose approaches that would impose arbitrary rates on providers, along with untested proposals such as bundling payments, which would be unworkable and would do nothing to solve the issue of surprise billing.

The AHA will continue to review this draft legislation closely and looks forward to working with the committee.

 
Share:

Related Articles:


Recent Articles

AMA Intensifies Campaign to End Burnout with Launch of Practice Transformation Initiative

The American Medical Association (AMA) announced an escalation in its prominent efforts to fight the root causes of physician burnout and dissatisfaction with the launch of the Practice Transformation Initiative.

Read More

Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes

Innovation in care, technology means better outcomes for patients

Read More

The Faces of Opioid Addiction

The Department of Health is raising awareness and putting a face to the opioid crisis in Tennessee.

Read More

Dr. Patrice Harris: First African American Woman to Lead Nation's Oldest Medical Organization

When Patrice Harris, MD, MA, was growing up in rural West Virginia, she wanted to be a pediatrician.

Read More

Council Fellows: A Conversation with Hayley Hovious

Council Fellows is preparing to seat its eighth class of healthcare leaders ready to tackle some of the industry's most pressing issues. Applications are being accepted Sept. 9-Oct. 22 for the 2020 class.

Read More

Answering the Call: Preparing Veterans as Civilian Healthcare Leaders

At a recent ACHEMT meeting, attendees learned more about how veterans' skill sets could be put to work in civilian healthcare leadership roles.

Read More

MIPS: Past, Present & Future

During the August NMGMA meeting, SVMIC's Jackie Boswell provided updates on MIPS reporting for 2019.

Read More

Getting America Moving

Updated physical activity guidelines incorporate new scientific findings, a focus on prevention and more flexibility in how Americans get their move mojo back.

Read More

TOA to Launch Sports Performance Center

TOA's new facility to offer healthcare, classes and training

Read More

Leading with TENNACITY

Local foundation helping trauma survivors take recovery to the next level.

Read More

Email Print
 
 

 

 


Tags:
None
Powered by Bondware
News Publishing Software

The browser you are using is outdated!

You may not be getting all you can out of your browsing experience
and may be open to security risks!

Consider upgrading to the latest version of your browser or choose on below: