On May 23, 2019, the Senate Health Committee proposed a bipartisan bill called the Lower Health Care Costs Act. The goal is to address surprise medical billing, reduce transparency, and reduce the cost of prescription drugs as well as the overall cost of delivering health care.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced a rule earlier this month requiring drug companies to disclose the price of prescription drugs on television ads. President Donald Trump additionally delivered a speech that laid out a blueprint for combating surprise medical billing.
The Lower Health Care Costs Act has five main components:
- Addressing surprise medical bills
- Improving transparency
- Improving public health
- Lowering the cost of prescription drugs
- Improving the exchange of health information
Senator Lamar Alexander, The Senate Health Committee Chairman, stated “Republicans and Democrats in the United States Senate have announced this proposal of nearly three dozen specific bipartisan provisions that will reduce the cost of what Americans pay for health care.” He is hopeful that the Lower Health Care Costs Act will be on the Senate floor for a vote by July of this year. Bill co-sponsor Senator Patty Murray further explained that the bill focuses on significant issues such as surprise medical billing, vaccine hesitancy, prescription drug prices, and maternal mortality. The rare bipartisan effort demonstrates that “We can make progress when both sides are at the table ready to put patients and families first.”
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