Reducing the Health Care Cost BurdenFebruary 14, 2018
As we enter 2018, small businesses are reporting that health insurance costs are the biggest challenge to their growth and survival. Now, a year after Congress failed to address health care reform, health care costs has risen to be the top issue that small businesses want Congress and the Administration to address.
Despite that overwhelming sentiment from the small-business community, there appears to be little appetite in Congress to once again tackle a big health care reform bill. Instead, there may be more targeted efforts, and a number of private sector initiatives focused on getting these costs under control.
Shining a Light
NSBA has long called for increased price transparency as a key component for beginning to get a handle on costs. Right now there is insufficient information for consumers to make a meaningful decision on prices in health care markets. But a grassroots effort seems to be growing to make a change; in fact a group called Patients USA has created an online petition https://patientsusa.com/ urging Congress to require price transparency of all health care providers.
Changing Insurance Markets
The Administration has also set in motion some executive actions designed to bring down insurance costs. The most prominent of these is a newly proposed rule to create so-called Association Health Plans (AHPs). The proposal hopes to reduce health insurance costs by eliminating some regulatory burdens on businesses that band together in AHPs to purchase coverage. The exact nature of the final plan will determine whether this effort will be successful or just shift costs from some businesses to others, but NSBA will be actively involved in helping to create the best possible system for our members. You can read more here: https://nsba.biz/association-health-plans-proposed-rule/
In his State of the Union address, President Trump specifically mentioned drug prices as a key area of focus, but a specific plan has yet to emerge from the Administration. Other efforts are looking at how end of life care decisions are made and the nature of innovation in driving both improved outcomes but also higher costs.
It is clear that fully addressing the enormous burden of health care costs will need to be a multi-faceted effort, and NSBA will be an ongoing advocate for getting all the right pieces in place, even if we have to do it step by step.