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News Brief: House Passes Bipartisan Act to Lower Health Care Costs and Increase Price Transparency

House Passes Bipartisan Act to Lower Health Care Costs and Increase Price Transparency

On Dec. 11, 2023, the U.S. House of Representatives passed landmark bipartisan legislation to lower the cost of health care and increase pay transparency for patients. The Lower Costs, More Transparency Act, which passed by a vote of 320-71, takes an initial step toward curbing Americans’ skyrocketing health care spending. However, this bill will likely face strong opposition from hospitals and other industry groups. The bill would have to pass the Senate and be signed by the president before becoming law.

“By requiring nearly every corner of our health system to publicly disclose their prices, the Lower Costs, More Transparency Act will empower patients and create incentives to lower prices across the board. “  - House Ways and Means Committee Chair Jason Smith

If enacted into law as written, this act could help patients in the following ways:

Increase price transparency to reveal the cost of prescription drugs by empowering patients and employers to make informed health care decisions, making price information available publicly, and requiring health insurers and pharmacy benefit managers to disclose negotiated drug rebates and discounts.

Address the cost of prescription drugs by lowering out-of-pocket costs for seniors who receive medication at hospital-owned outpatient facilities, expanding access to affordable generic drugs and equipping employer health plans with the information they need to make informed decisions about drug prices.

Support patients, health care workers, community health centers and hospitals by fully paying for expiring health care programs that support community health centers, supporting training programs for new doctors in communities, preserving Medicaid for hospitals that care for uninsured and low-income patients, and extending funding for research to improve treatments and cures for diabetes. 

Next Steps

Heightened health care costs are likely to continue impacting employers and employees for the foreseeable future. To combat rising costs, employers are focusing on improving employee health outcomes, reducing unnecessary services, and prioritizing prevention and primary care. Additionally, employers may benefit from improving benefits education and employee communication to help workers understand their benefits and the best ways to utilize and maximize them.

Employers should continue to monitor the progress of this bill, as it could significantly impact health care costs. We’ll keep you appraised of any notable updates. 

This article is intended for informational purposes only and is not intended to be exhaustive, nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as professional advice. © 2023 Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved.


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