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US Senate Advances Bill Lowering Cost of Medical Care and Ending Surprise Billing

The United States Senate Committee has approved the Lower Health Care Costs Act of 2019. Legislation that includes 54 proposals from 65 senators — 36 Democrats and 29 Republicans. This bill will make healthcare more transparent and ends surprise billing

United States Senator Lamar Alexander said that the Lower Health Care Costs Act will reduce what Americans pay out of their pockets for health care in three major ways. First, it ends surprise billing. Second, it creates more transparency— there are twelve bipartisan provisions that will: eliminate gag clauses and anti-competitive terms in insurance contracts, designate a non-profit entity to unlock insurance claims for employers, ban Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) from charging more for a drug than the PBM paid for the drug, and require that patients receive more information on the cost and quality of their health care. You can’t lower your health care costs until you know what your health care costs. And third, it increases prescription drug competition—there are fourteen bipartisan provisions to help more low-cost generic and biosimilar drugs reach patients.

Lamar Alexander Altogether further added that this legislation will help to lower the cost of health care, which has become a tax on family budgets and on businesses, on federal and state governments. A recent Gallup poll found that the cost of health care was the biggest financial problem facing American families. And last July, this committee heard from Dr. Brent James, from the National Academies, who testified that up to half of what the American people spend on health care may be unnecessary.

The Following Billing are Also Approved

  1. Emergency Medical Services for Children Program – This law will safeguard the way children are getting emergency treatments. This bill mandates emergency health care providers to be completely prepared to treat children, who typically require minor equipment and different dosages of medication.
  2. The Poison Center Network Enhancement Act of 2019 ­– This bill will modernize the communications abilities of poison control centers. This bill will strengthen the network of 55 poison control centers across the country and enables them to more effectively prevent and respond to toxic exposures and poisonings.

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