Can Congress Manage to Lower the Cost of Healthcare?

In recent years the cost of healthcare has continued to rise. Americans are having to deal with high and unexpected out-of-pocket expenses. Consequently, this past June, Congress found some common ground and decided it’s time to deal with the issue at hand.

“Obviously, we will continue to have significant disagreements on … Obamacare. What we’ve done is shift our focus to the larger topic — or a different topic — of reducing health care costs.”

Senator Lamar Alexander

Congress has introduced the Lower Health Care Costs Act. Their goal is to lower prescription drug prices, prevent surprise medical bills, and require hospitals to be clear about what they are charging insurance companies.

Good Intentions

However, despite good intentions, Congress is already receiving backlash. Many hospitals and pharmaceutical companies are already trying to argue their case. In fact, the Senate has decided not to vote for the measure before their August recess. Senator Lamar Alexander has expressed his hope that they will take a vote when they reconvene in September.

One of the biggest issues here is that individuals in the healthcare industry may see this as a threat to their livelihoods. For example, Colorado introduced a bill earlier this year to help lower the cost of premiums. They planned on capping payments to hospitals. However, this was not well received with hospital groups. They ended up amending the law to where hospitals are still paid the same but will have to give back a portion of their revenue.

Healthcare Industries Kicking Back

With the healthcare industry being so vast, it is going to be hard to gain traction against hospital groups. On the other hand, how do we combat skyrocketing medical prices? Medical costs can easily add up quickly. Additionally, you never know how changing one thing might seriously affect something else. Lowering the cost of something might change something drastically somewhere else. I believe the key will have to be in finding some sort of middle ground.

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