WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), a member of the Senate health and finance committees, released the following statement and white paper containing new ideas to improve the U.S. health care system and lower costs for families and patients:
“Families and patients have seen their health insurance premiums and the cost of care go up year after year. It’s unaffordable and unsustainable, and things aren’t going to get better until we change our broken system,” said Dr. Cassidy. “I’m focused on lowering health care costs, because we have to make health care affordable again. That’s what these ideas I’m outlining are intended to do.”
“The good news is that it’s absolutely possible to fix this mess by ending the rules that rig the system for the companies with all the lawyers and lobbyists, and giving patients the power to choose what is best for them,” continued Dr. Cassidy. “That’s the good news. The bad news is that the U.S. Senate is split almost evenly, and Washington Democrats refuse to work with us to make things better. We saw Senator Nelson ultimately oppose Collins-Nelson, a bipartisan agreement he helped initiate. We saw Senator Murray ultimately oppose Alexander-Murray, a bipartisan agreement she helped initiate. Why did they do this? Election-year politics, plain and simple.”
“But just because the votes in the Senate aren’t there right now doesn’t mean we should stop coming up with ideas to address the problems in our health care system. I hope the eight pages of ideas I’m publishing today will further our ongoing discussions and debates, and eventually translate into good legislation we can introduce and send to the president’s desk,” said Dr. Cassidy. “Americans deserve a better health care system and lower health care costs, and I will work with anyone who is willing to help me achieve that goal.”
Dr. Cassidy’s ideas to make health care affordable again are focused on:
- Empowering Patients to Reduce Their Health Costs
- Lowering Health Insurance Premiums
- Ending Health Care Monopolies by Increasing Competition
- Decreasing Drugs Costs for Patients
- Eliminating Administrative Burdens and Costs
- Reducing Costs through Primary Care, Prevention, and Chronic Disease Management
New proposals in Dr. Cassidy’s white paper include:
- Implement price transparency and real time benefit analysis to allow patients the power of knowing prices.
- Allowing greater use of free-standing emergency centers, ambulatory surgery centers, physician-owned hospitals, and emergency rural centers for less severe conditions.
- More robust use of cost-benefit analysis for drugs getting approved in the U.S.
- Tiered exclusivity based on how innovative a drug is.
- Incentives for states to encourage young people to enter the individual market.
- Allowing states to determine when an insurer is banned from re-entering the state’s individual market.
- Medpac and Macpac study on barriers to delivery system reform, including the impact payment differences for similar services provided by physicians, ambulatory surgery centers, and hospitals are adding unnecessary costs to the system and increasing how much patients are paying.
- Allowing insurers and pharmaceutical benefit managers to use reference-based pricing tied to a global market-basket of a particular class of drugs to determine the proper reimbursement rate.
- An analysis of consolidation in health care by industry and geographic area.
- A study of current regulations and reducing costs associated with these regulations by at least 10 percent.
- An examination on the social determinants of health and the racial disparities that exist within the current system
Further developed proposals in Dr. Cassidy’s white paper include:
- Combine the individual market and Medicaid expansion pools and money.
- Floor and ceiling for Medicare Wage Index.
- Address surprise medical bills.
- Greater use of telemedicine.
- Address regulatory barriers preventing competition like certificate of need.
- Point of sale rebates.
- Eliminate gag clauses.
- Examine whether rebates, coupons, premium assistance, and other forms of behind-the-scenes discounts are contributing to higher drug costs.
- Value-based contracting by states and insurers for paying for drugs.
- Address evergreening, pay-for-delay, and rems abuses.
Remove burdensome regulations that discourage employers from hiring more workers.
Eliminate the tax on medical device manufacturers.
- Reform meaningful use.
- Consolidate existing quality measures and reorient the system towards outcomes measures that are designed by and tailored to specific types of providers
- Medical liability reform.
- Direct Primary Care.
- Expanded, enhanced Health Savings Accounts (HSAs).
- Improve or remove the Medicaid Institutions for Mental Diseases (IMD) exclusion.
Remove burdensome regulations that discourage employers from hiring more workers?