The Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee today held the first in a series of hearings on how to reduce health care costs, which will examine administrative costs and waste, how to improve transparency, private sector solutions and other issues. Witnesses at today’s hearing included representatives from the Department of Health Policy at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Harvard Global Health Institute, Health Care Cost Institute and Georgetown University Law Center. In a statement submitted to the committee, AHA encouraged Congress to “pursue actions that will help reduce the cost of coverage without putting access to care at risk,” including addressing the high costs of prescription drugs, regulatory and administrative burden, and chronic disease, and “promoting enrollment in comprehensive health coverage to share costs across the broadest population possible.” While the share of national health expenditures for hospital care has declined and hospital price growth remains under 2%, spending for retail and inpatient prescription drugs have surged and hospitals “continue to provide a significant amount of uncompensated care,” increasingly because “individuals who have insurance cannot meet their high deductibles and other cost-sharing requirements,” the statement notes.

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