Employers Voice Support for Senate Health Committee Legislation to Reduce Health Care Costs

Employers across the country are voicing their support for the Lower Health Care Costs Act of 2019, bipartisan legislation to reduce what Americans pay out of their own pockets for health care, which the Senate health committee approved by a vote of 20-3 in June and includes 55 proposals from 65 senators — 36 Democrats and 29 Republicans.

WASHINGTON, July 12, 2019 — Employers across the country are voicing their support for the Lower Health Care Costs Act of 2019, bipartisan legislation to reduce what Americans pay out of their own pockets for health care, which the Senate health committee approved by a vote of 20-3 in June and includes 55 proposals from 65 senators — 36 Democrats and 29 Republicans.  

181 million Americans get their health insurance on the job, and the unsustainably high cost of health care adds to the cost of doing business. Warren Buffett has called the ballooning costs of health care “a hungry tapeworm on the American economy.” Today, businesses are in the dark on how much they are actually paying for health care for their employees which means they can’t take innovative steps to help their employees lower what they pay for health care out of their own pockets.

American Benefits Council: “We are pleased that the legislation includes provisions aimed at improving price transparency across the health care delivery system, facilitating the use of value-based insurance designs and addressing surprise billing. … Employers are on the front lines of implementing innovative strategies to improve health care quality and decrease costs and they have a vested interest in securing the health and well-being of their workers. … When commitment to employees is coupled with their drive for innovation, employers are the key to lowering health care costs and increasing quality for working families and the health care system as whole. Even so, over the years, policymakers often have erected barriers limiting the success employers can achieve to control costs and improve quality. Reducing health care costs entails removing these barriers, restoring a competitive marketplace and realigning incentives to promote high-value care. By helping to remove these barriers, restore a competitive marketplace and realign incentives, the Lower Health Care Costs Act is an important step forward in reducing health care costs in the U.S.”

ERISA Industry Committee: “The ERISA Industry Committee (ERIC) supports passage of the bill, and urges members of the Committee to vote ‘YES’ when the legislation is called for a vote. ERIC is the only national trade association that advocates exclusively for large employers on health, retirement, and compensation public policy issues on the federal, state, and local levels. … ERIC believes that the reforms included in LHCCA will improve the ability of our member companies to offer quality, affordable health benefits. As such, ERIC urges members to vote YES, and support passage of LHCCA.”

National Retail Federation: “Retailers welcome the latest proposal from the Senate HELP committee, which includes several commonsense reforms to protect patients and promote lower heath care costs. We are encouraged by the effort to put an end to surprise medical billing, a loophole that puts families at risk for exorbitant and unexpected charges. Establishing a benchmark approach for out-of-network providers, clarifying that all providers in an in-network facility must accept in-network rates, and addressing air ambulance fees are all positive steps that should be preserved through the committee markup process and supported by members of both parties.”

HR Policy Association: “I write in support of the Lower Health Care Costs Act to address surprise medical billing and increase transparency in the nation’s health care system. …We applaud your decision to address surprise bills with a fair market-based benchmark rate based on the median negotiated in-network reimbursement rate paid by the health plan to the same or similar providers in the geographic market.”

American Federation of Teachers: “On behalf of the 1.7 million members of the American Federation of Teachers, including 130,000 healthcare professionals, I write to express our views regarding the Lower Health Care Costs Act of 2019. We are glad that Chairman Lamar Alexander and Ranking Member Parry Murray have once again found a way to move forward with commonsense bipartisan legislation. Indeed, it is a testament to their ability to work together that this bill includes numerous proposals from both Democratic and Republicans senators.”

National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions: “Thank you, and your committee, for taking on many of the challenges that healthcare purchasers face in your draft legislation, the “Lower Health Care Costs Act.” The measures that were outlined and discussed in last week’s hearing are disruptive to an untenable status quo. …You aren’t just fighting to address healthcare costs. You are fighting for economic investment, wage growth, research and development, job growth and other business activities that have been squeezed out by healthcare inflation. You are fighting for people who are facing impossible decisions to seek treatment or take care of their families.”

3M Corporation: “3M Health Information Systems thanks you for your bipartisan leadership in advancing common-sense legislation to lower health care costs for patients and taxpayers. We greatly appreciate your efforts with S. 1895, the Lower Health Care Costs Act, to address inefficiencies and misaligned incentives within the American health care system that contribute to higher costs.”

Coalition of over 20 employer organizations: “Employers are deeply concerned about the burden that unexpected medical bills from out-of- network providers place on employees and their families. We applaud you for seeking a solution to surprise medical billing in S. 1895, the “Lower Health Care Costs Act.” We share your goal to protect patients from surprise medical bills without undermining network participation or increasing health care costs for all consumers. … As you know, employers provide coverage to over 181 million Americans. We are committed to ensuring our employees and their families continue to have access to meaningful coverage – this is both the right thing to do and it also helps our businesses thrive as our employees are healthier and more productive. Ending surprise medical billing in a way that protects patients without undermining network participation or increasing health care costs for all consumers is a critical step to take and we applaud your leadership.”