AHIP Comments On Lower Health Care Costs Act

posted by AHIP

on June 26, 2019

Washington, D.C. –  Matt Eyles, president and CEO of America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), issued this statement as the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) prepares for a markup of the Lower Health Care Costs Act:

“Everyone deserves affordable, comprehensive health coverage that allows them to get the care they need. We applaud the Senate HELP Committee for its continued hard work to deliver on this commitment, and we commend the committee for taking steps to protect consumers from outrageous medical bill and high drug prices. At the same time, we want to highlight and raise serious concerns that some of the proposals in this bill will actually increase health care costs for all Americans.

“The Lower Health Care Costs Act would advance several provisions that improve health care affordability and access. For example, it would protect millions of patients from surprise medical bills, with well-considered approaches to control health care costs for everyone.  It would encourage more competition from generic drugs to lower drug prices. It also would clear the way for consumers to get more of their health information, more timely bills, and accurate cost estimates before they seek care.

“At the same time, we are concerned about provisions that would represent a major government overreach into the private market. New government mandates, requirements, and intrusions into competitive, private market negotiations that don’t directly involve public programs or government funds would result in higher prices for millions of consumers, patients and taxpayers. Achieving the best deal for consumers depends on competitive negotiations, where all organizations compete and negotiate to offer the best value.

“We have serious concerns that proposals in this legislative package would hinder competitive negotiations in two ways. First, it would strip health insurance providers and their pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) partners of important leverage to negotiate lower drug costs, without addressing the root cause: High drug prices set and control by manufacturers who enjoy government-granted monopolies through the patent system. Second, it would disclose competitively negotiated, proprietary payment rates, which experts agree would push prices higher for consumers, patients, and taxpayers.

“We fully support transparency that help consumers make informed decisions about their care and costs. And we are committed to collaborating on solutions that bring down costs. We will continue to work with Congress and the Administration to improve health care affordability and access for every American.”