Davisson: Time to address rising costs of health care, prescription drugs

Posted by: Randy Spieth  | Friday, November 15, 2019

The cost of health care continues to rise. Hoosiers and most Americans are paying more than ever for hospital care, physician services and prescription drugs. Members of the Interim Study Committee on Public Health, Behavioral Health and Human Services, on which I serve, took a deep dive into the issue by looking at best practices of other states, and are working on recommendations to increase transparency and lower costs. 

Research shows there are several factors contributing to the problem. Americans are spending more than $10,000 each year on health care, and within the next decade that number is expected to grow another $6,000 if solutions are not found. In Indiana, it is more expensive to get health care than in at least 25 other states. Health care deductibles are rising eight times faster than wages nationally. In addition, prescription drug costs are also rising. Prescription drug prices are marked up so high that some Hoosiers have stopped taking prescribed medication.

For solutions, we are looking at policies from other states. This year, 33 states enacted 51 laws to address drug prices and affordability. For example, four states are establishing programs to import cheaper prescription drugs from Canada. Many other states are developing databases for price transparency and the costs of health care procedures. In Colorado, patients can search for providers and compare prices, ultimately creating competition and reducing costs.

Besides considering those policies, the committee is recommending a few bills on behalf of Indiana consumers. They include prohibiting surprise billing, which protects consumers from getting higher than anticipated bills when visiting in-network facilities but receive care from an out-of-network doctor, establishing databases to increase price transparency for medical services, helping Hoosiers identify cost disparities, and putting an end to anti-competitive contract language between hospitals and health plans.

All of us are affected by health care policies at some point. In the 2020 legislative session, fellow lawmakers and myself will further discuss these issues and policies save Hoosiers money on health care. While we look for solutions, Hoosiers can better equip themselves as health care consumers. Besides a healthy lifestyle, be aware while selecting a health care provider and look for ways to save money, like using in-network doctors and facilities. To learn more, visit pacificsource.com/smart-healthcare.

-30-

State Rep. Steve Davisson (R-Salem) represents House District 73, which includes
Washington County, and portions of Orange, Lawrence, Jackson, Clark and Harrison counties. 
Click here to download a high-resolution photo.