ALLIANCE TO FIGHT FOR HEALTH CARE
New poll: Health costs are a top priority among insured Americans, bipartisan support to make the market work more efficiently for patients and employers
The Alliance to Fight for Health Care (Alliance), a diverse coalition comprised of businesses, patient advocates, employer organizations, unions, health care companies, consumer groups, and other stakeholders that support employer-provided health coverage, today released a Morning Consult poll of American adults with health care coverage. The findings deliver a number of powerful messages to lawmakers on the direction of health care policy.
“With a new Congress, there is a new opportunity to enact bipartisan, common-sense measures that drive down health costs, the top health care concern for insured Americans,” said James A. Klein, president of the American Benefits Council. “The Alliance’s latest health care poll shows that Americans feel positive about their employer-provided coverage and don’t want massive changes to transform the health care system. We urge Congress to hear these voices and take action to reduce costs and protect the system through which 178 million Americans receive health coverage.”
According to the Census Bureau, nearly 300 million people (92% of the total population) are covered by some kind of insurance, with 178 million of them participating in employer-based plans. The Morning Consult poll was sponsored by the Alliance and conducted between December 16-17, 2022, among a nationally representative sample of 1,510 adults with health insurance. The poll finds insured Americans are satisfied with their employer-provided coverage but are concerned about high costs:
The cost of health care is a serious concern. Eight in ten insured adults are concerned about the cost of care, with seven in ten concerned about the ability to pay, and/or the cost of prescription drugs.
More than four in five insured adults feel employers should be able to give employees who have enrolled in their company’s health plan a discount for seeing a high-quality doctor, which demonstrates bipartisan support for policies that remove restrictions that impede high-value care.
Three in four insured Americans believe that when the identical health service is provided in two different sites – such as a doctor’s office and outpatient clinic – the price should be the same, which demonstrates bipartisan support for so-called “site-neutral” payment reform policies.
Nearly 90% of insured adults believe their health coverage should not be taxed.
SITE-NEUTRAL PAYMENT REFORM
In case you missed it!
MedPAC to Congress: Expand Site-Neutral Payment Policy
June 22, 2023
Last week, the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) published its June 2023 Report to Congress, which includes a unanimous recommendation for Congress to stop overpaying hospitals for care safely provided in a physician’s office. Under this “site-neutral” policy, Medicare would pay for care based on the type of care that is provided to a patient, rather than the location of where the care is provided. MedPAC called on Congress to “more closely align payment rates across ambulatory settings for selected services that are safe and appropriate to provide in all (hospital and physician office) settings and when doing so does not pose a risk to access.”
Currently Medicare pays hospitals more than doctors for the same outpatient care. MedPAC explains that this payment difference created an incentive for hospitals to purchase independent physician practices to get the higher hospital reimbursement calling the doctors’ offices hospital outpatient departments (HOPDs).
While Congress initiated site-neutral payments under the Bipartisan Budget Act (BBA) of 2015, MedPAC notes that the original policy significantly limited the policy by excepting off-campus HOPDs that existed before November 2, 2015. This limitation encourages hospitals to acquire physician practices and add them to existing off-campus HOPDs where they can be paid the higher rate.
MedPAC’s report urges Congress to expand site-neutral payments to outpatient services that are safely provided in physician’s office settings. MedPAC identified 66 services for site-neutral payment alignment and estimates these changes could have generated $4.9 billion in Medicare savings and $1.2 billion in savings for seniors in 2021. Under current law, this policy would be implemented in a budget-neutral manner, increasing payment for non-adjusted services.
When hospitals charge more for doctor’s office services, patients pay more in cost-sharing, junk fees, and premiums. The Alliance supports site-neutral payment reform and looks forward to working with Congress to expand site-neutral payments in Medicare and encourage site neutrality in commercial settings. New research by University of Minnesota economist Steve Parente conducted on behalf of the Alliance estimates that expanding site-neutral payment reform could result in nearly $60 billion in savings annually in the commercial market. As polling conducted by the Alliance has shown, 72% of insured Americans believe the price of health care services should be the same no matter where that service is received.
THE ALLIANCE TO FIGHT
FOR HEALTH CARE
Fighting for Your Health Care
The Alliance to Fight for Health Care is a diverse coalition comprised of businesses, patient advocates, employer organizations, unions, health care companies, consumer groups and other stakeholders that support employer-provided health coverage. Together, we are working to ensure that employer-provided coverage remains an effective and affordable option for working Americans and their families. The coalition, previously working as the Alliance to Fight the 40, led the successful effort to repeal the so-called 40% “Cadillac Tax” on health care coverage.
“The Alliance’s goal is to advance public policy that makes health care more affordable, strengthens job-based coverage and supports continued innovation that delivers value to working families.”