AHA President and CEO
February 5, 2019
We all know that the affordability of health care services is one of the biggest concerns facing families, as well as employers and government—and America’s hospitals and health systems are working to address it. But to truly fix the broken system, all stakeholders including drug companies, insurers and providers need to step up to do right by patients.
First and foremost, patients should never forgo care because of cost. That is why hospitals and health systems are redesigning the care delivery system to improve quality and value, offer new payment models and implement effective solutions that will reduce costs.
The cost of care needs to be more affordable and transparent. Hospitals are working with patients to understand their out-of-pocket costs, including providing information upfront on the cost of their care. This includes sharing what their financial responsibility will be, including what patients will pay out-of-pocket, and often times that information is only available from their insurer.
We also strongly believe that to address the issue of surprise bills, providers, payers and policymakers must protect patients by limiting patients’ cost-sharing to in-network amounts.
Drug companies must also do their part to address the prescription drug-spending crisis. Last month, an independent report revealed the devastating impact of rising drug prices and drug shortages on patients and providers of care. The report found that between FY 2015 and FY 2017, the average total drug spending per hospital admission soared by 18.5 percent, while outpatient drug spending per admission rose by 28.7 percent.
Meanwhile, astronomical hikes of unit price – over 80 percent – were seen across different classes of drugs, and a quarter of hospitals were forced to cut staff to mitigate budget pressures.
We look forward to continuing our work with the administration and with all stakeholders to achieve more affordable health care for the patients we are privileged enough to serve.
Marie Johnson, (202) 626-2351
Colin Milligan, (202) 638-5491