As advocates of free markets and members of the business community, we can debate which proposals to prevent surprise billing are more appropriate, but if we enshrine current rates with an arbitration scheme, or if we fail to advance solutions on surprise billing, we only play into the hands of single-payer advocates. It’s time to end secret pricing and save our health care market from the corrupt practice of surprise billing once and for all.
Rising out-of-pocket costs for drugs are a major concern of Americans, and for good reason. Recently, some members of Congress and officials at the Department of Health and Human Services have championed a particular strategy to address this problem: pegging U.S. drug prices to what other countries pay for the same medicines.
John Desser, Senior Vice President of Public Policy and Government Affairs at eHealth Inc. and former HHS official, said, “Any effort to bring more visibility and data to the consumer on health care costs is a step in the right direction. Health care is just far too opaque, and so anything we can do to address that is a step in the right direction — but there will be some controversy. There will be entrenched interests that will try to oppose it.”
The laser focus on expanding the government’s role in health care has coincided with a double-digit slide in net support for “Medicare for all” among voters from January to February, according to new data from a Morning Consult/Politico poll.
Although “Medicare for all” enjoyed net support of 27 percentage points (calculated by subtracting the share of opponents from the share of supporters) among registered voters at the onset of 2019, that share dropped 15 points in the Feb. 7-10 survey, to 12 points.
The White House’s plan to lower federal drug payments and stop incentivizing doctors to use the most expensive drugs is a long-overdue, commonsense move to control our nation’s health care costs. And its implementation should be a top priority.
Spending for health care is unsustainable, representing about 17 percent of U.S. gross domestic product. In fact, it’s outpacing GDP growth by 1 percent annually.
As we head toward the end of the year, biopharmaceutical companies are announcing their pricing strategies for 2019.
Merck & Co. raised the list price of five drugs, including its blockbuster cancer treatment Keytruda, in November — raising the price of Keytruda by 1.5 percent and its human papillomavirus vaccine Gardasil by about 6 percent. The other three treatments that saw increases were vaccines.According to Merck, the average net price of their drugs declined 1.9 percent in 2017.
The free market leads to tangible savings across many sectors, and there’s no reason why that can’t be the case for health care, too. Rather than pushing for feel-good yet meaningless legislation such as Pelosi and Schumer’s price enforcer, congressional leaders should create an atmosphere ripe for competition.
With Americans increasingly concerned about drug prices and the Trump administration’s drug-pricing blueprintsupporting free-market pathways, the overriding question is: How do we inject more competition into the system by which drugs are purchased and dispensed? Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb has already moved to accelerate generic drug approvals, and now he wants to repeat that success by galvanizing the market for biosimilars, where products could be priced between 20-30 percent lower than their innovator brand cousins.
As Affordable Care Act protections for people with pre-existing conditions continue to play a major role in the discourse surrounding health care legislation ahead of the midterm elections, a new Morning Consult/Politico survey shows widespread, bipartisan support among voters for these ACA provisions.
In the survey of 1,988 registered voters conducted Sept. 6-9, 83 percent of Democrats and 80 percent of Republicans say that insurance companies should not have the legal right to deny coverage for people who have pre-existing conditions. Among all registered voters, 81 percent had the same opinion.
Our health care system must improve quality while reducing the cost of care. There is near-universal agreement that, to do so, we must move from fee-for-service reimbursement to paying for the value of care received.
Yet, despite the fact that the idea of “volume to value” has been around for a decade or more, it is not yet the norm. That means too many patients are not getting the care they need, and our health care system has become too expensive.