Congress is Working to Reduce Out-of-Pocket Costs Associated with Healthcare

National News

NEXSTAR (D.C.)– Congress continues to work on reducing what Americans pay out of pocket to take care of their health.

A bill making its way through Congress includes 54 proposals to lower those costs.

One lawmaker’s bipartisan plan ensures patients get medical bills in a timely manner, and it also helps crackdown on the issue of surprise medical billing.

Executive Vice President of Healthcare Quality and Value for the National Patient Advocate Foundation Rebecca Kirch shares, “They’re deciding between a co-pay for medication that’s 8 dollars and putting food on the table for their family.”

Rebecca Kirch with the National Patient Advocate Foundation says that’s the reality for patients she interacts with.

Kirch adds, “Our biggest concern is making sure that person-centered care happens so that we’re treating people beyond the disease and financial distress is a major factor.”

Kirch says her organization and Congress have their work cut out for them but she’s encouraged by recent action in the Senate Health Education Labor and Pensions Committee.

Democratic Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey says, “Senator Enzi and I had a bill that became part of the larger bill we voted on today in committee which is to, first of all, say that we give people more notice in terms of the bill arriving.”

The HELP Committee voted and approved bipartisan legislation that would reduce health care costs, end surprise billing, add more transparency, and increase competition to bring down prescription drug costs.

Senator Casey says his legislation within the bill package, would help crackdown on outrageous medical bills from landing in the mailboxes of Americans with little notice.

Kirch adds, “They’re making sure that patients and families can understand here are the services that you received while you were in our care.”

Casey says, “There’s not nearly enough attention paid here to getting healthcare costs down and getting the costs of prescription drugs down.”

Kirch adds, “If we don’t first focus on how can we help patients and families understand the financial liability that they’re facing, we’re not going to get to our ultimate goal of making sure that people get high-quality care.”

The committee plans to present the package to Senate leadership this month for the full Senate to consider.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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