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Feb 12, 201911:07 AMOpen Mic

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YOU can tell Congress how to lower health care costs

Wrap your head around these statistics on health care costs from the expert testimony at recent U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee hearings.

In 2017:

  • $3.5 trillion = the amount the United States spent on health care (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services).
  • $1 to $1.8 trillion = the amount of money that was wasted on unnecessary health care services. Fully one-half to one-third of what we spend is wasted on care that is unnecessary! That’s based on U.S. Senate HELP Committee testimony from Dr. Brent James, a member of the National Academy of Medicine.

In the wake of this testimony, Sen. Lamar Alexander is calling for ideas for legislation he will introduce to control health care costs. The Alliance received his invitation and is working to collect employers’ ideas for the Senate by Feb. 20, 2019.

Sen. Alexander’s request

Here’s the input that Sen. Alexander is seeking:

  • What steps should the next Congress take to address America’s rising health care costs? This includes steps that would improve the health and outcomes of patients, as well as steps that would help patients access information about care to make informed decisions.
  • What does Congress or the Trump Administration need to do to implement these steps?
  • Once implemented, what are the potential shortcomings of these steps and why are they worthy of consideration despite the shortcomings?

The Alliance is helping gather this information as an extension of our participation in the HELP Committee hearings, where I testified about employer innovations that make a difference in the cost and quality of health care.

As I noted in my Senate testimony, the Alliance is a not-for-profit cooperative of 240 employers in Wisconsin, Illinois, and Iowa who pool together to contract directly with doctors and hospitals to get lower prices and receive a higher level of care. Other employer innovations include offering worksite primary care and guiding employees to high-value care.

Share your ideas

If you have suggestions for legislation that would make a positive impact on health care costs, please contact us by Feb. 20 using one of these methods:

  1. Send an email to thealliance@the-alliance.org. Please put “Senate HELP ideas” in the subject line.
  2. Call us at (800) 223-4139 x.6662. In the Madison area, you can use (608) 210-6662.

We’ll compile the suggestions we receive and submit them to Sen. Alexander.

As Sen. Alexander noted, health care costs are a growing burden on taxpayers, employers, and family budgets. Now is the time to share your ideas about ways to relieve that burden.

Cheryl DeMars is president and CEO of The Alliance.

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