Congress may face a reckoning on health care costs

Congress may face a reckoning on health care costs
Illustration of a sword made from a dollar bill with medical cross and other shapes behind it

Illustration: Natalie Peeples/Axios

All signs stage to a crushing surge in health treatment charges for patients and businesses future year — and that implies health and fitness treatment sector teams are about to brawl in excess of who pays the rate.

Why it matters: The surge could make strain on Congress to cease disregarding the underlying expenditures that make treatment increasingly unaffordable for every day People in america — and make billions for health and fitness treatment providers.

[This special report kicks off a series to introduce our new, Congress-focused Axios Pro: Health Care, coming Nov. 14.]

  • This year’s Democratic legislation making it possible for Medicare to negotiate drug prices was a unusual situation of addressing fees amid intense drug marketplace lobbying towards it. Even so, it was a watered down edition of the unique proposal.
  • But the drug industry isn’t really by yourself in its willingness to battle to manage the status quo, and that battle regularly pits one market team from another.

Wherever it stands: Even insured Americans are struggling to find the money for their care, the inescapable outcome of decades of price-shifting by companies and insurers on to individuals by greater rates, deductibles and other out-of-pocket fees.

  • But companies are now struggling to entice and retain personnel, and forcing their workers to shoulder even extra expenditures appears to be like a much less viable selection.
  • Tougher economic periods make individuals a lot more value-sensitive, placing families in a bind if they get ill.
  • Increasing medical personal debt, elevated price tag transparency and questionable credit card debt collection practices have rubbed some of the excellent-male sheen off of hospitals and companies.
  • All of this is coming to a boiling issue. The dilemma is just not no matter whether, but when.

Sure, but: Don’t undervalue Washington’s capability to have a entirely underwhelming reaction to the dilemma, or one that just kicks the can down the street — or to just not react at all.

Between the strains: If you search closely, the normal partisan fight lines are altering.

  • The GOP’s criticism of Democrats’ drug pricing legislation is nothing like the party’s outcry over the Cost-effective Treatment Act, and no a person severely thinks the celebration will make a authentic try to repeal it.
  • A person of the most significant wellness reforms handed in recent a long time was a bipartisan ban on surprise billing, which may possibly deliver a additional present day template for well being care policy fights.
  • Shock health care costs divided lawmakers into two teams, but it was not Democrats vs. Republicans it was these who supported the insurance company-backed reform prepare vs. the clinic and company-backed one. This battle carries on today — in court docket.

The bottom line: Anyone is going to have to pay for the coming value surge, irrespective of whether that is clients, taxpayers, employers or the wellbeing care companies profiting off of the program. Each business group is battling like hell to make guaranteed it is just not them.

  • Sign up for Axios Professional Well being Treatment Plan for a particular pre-start version about which price battles to watch.