Whether it’s insurance premiums, medical bills or prescription drug prices, healthcare costs are one of the biggest issues facing North Carolina families.
Premiums are increasing twice as fast as wages. Millions are foregoing care due to the costs. And each year, healthcare providers are charging $352 billion more to privately insured individuals and businesses than Medicare recipients.
In North Carolina there are meaningful, specific and, in some cases, overdue steps our General Assembly can take to reduce healthcare costs.
- Lowering Prescription Drug Costs: Nearly a quarter of every dollar spent on healthcare goes towards paying for prescription drugs. Mandates threaten to drive that number even higher. We need to lower drug costs through increased transparency and a more competitive marketplace.
- Ending Surprise Billing: 1 in ten Americans have been a victim of a surprise medical bill received from an out-of-network provider. And it drives up costs by roughly $40 billion a year. North Carolina needs to set a fair, market-driven rate for out-of-network care received at in-network hospitals and in emergencies.
- Expanding Insurance Options: Regulations should not keep businesses, workers and their families from high-quality, more affordable health insurance options. North Carolina’s laws and regulations need to be changed to allow the offering of lower costs, ACA compliant health plans.
- Increased Competition: Outdated red tape like Certificate of Need laws are preventing the kind of competition that can lower costs and increase quality. Reforms are needed so that people in our state have more affordable options for higher quality care. Stopping hospital mergers and acquisitions will also increase competition, lower costs and increase quality.
- Ending Costly Mandates: Coverage and payment parity mandates for telehealth threaten to undermine virtual care’s ability to expand access and lower costs. Experts are urging lawmakers against enacting them.
- Getting Private Equity Out of Healthcare: Because of private equity’s involvement in health care, patients are paying more and potentially receiving worse care while investors maximize their returns. More can and should be done to curtail the role of Wall Street investors in health care. That starts with removing the incentives – like the billion dollar surprise billing epidemic – that causes private equity to get involved in health care in the first place.
Addressing these issues will mean major healthcare cost savings for millions of people. For all those foregoing care due to costs, it cannot wait.