Washington DC – House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Kathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) delivered the following opening remarks before today’s Health Subcommittee hearing About the growing cost of health care.
“We’ve talked a lot in this committee about addressing the impact of high health care costs on patients, employers and taxpayers, and the work we need to do to create a less complex system.
“More than 60% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck.
“That means they can avoid a financial emergency with just one medical bill, and a doctor’s visit can prevent them from being unable to pay their rent or feed their family.
“We take the example of a new mother who has a good health care plan.
“All of her plan documents indicated that maternity care was covered.
“After weeks of enjoying life at home with her healthy baby, she received a bill from the hospital for over $18,000.
“Next, she’ll receive a benefit statement from her insurance company. Many programs are denied, but it’s unclear why.
“It claims she may still owe more than $6,000.
“About a month later, another hospital bill finally showed up for $1,800.
“So, for one delivery, the family was required to pay three different documents with different amounts.
“This is just one example of how the current confusing and opaque system affects millions of Americans every day.
“Something needs to change.”
“Increasing price transparency in our health care system is a critical step to begin to address these issues and reduce costs.
“We ended last year with a very important moment. Our Lower Costs, More Transparency Act passed the House with an overwhelming bipartisan vote.
“But our work is not done yet.
“We need to get this legislation to the president as soon as possible to increase price transparency for patients and employers.
“Today, we heard from experts on why addressing health care costs is so important and what else Congress should do once the Lower Costs and More Transparency Act is signed into law.”
Costs are crushing families
“We’re going to look at how much we’re spending on health care.
“In 2022, U.S. health care spending will reach nearly $4.5 trillion.
“That averages out to about $13,500 per person.
“Take a family of four as an example.
“This means that the average annual cost of providing health care to this family will be more than $55,000.
“Of course, not every person or every family is average. Some need to spend more and some need less.
“But we all pay for high health care costs through rising insurance premiums and our taxes, and we know that when employers have to spend more on health care, they spend less on payroll.
“A recent study found that three decades of health care premium increases cost each family $125,000 in lost wages.
“In other words, when we lower health care costs without sacrificing access and quality, we are helping to increase the paychecks of hard-working Americans.
“Healthcare spending is expected to continue to grow faster than the economy over the next decade.
“This trend is unsustainable and we must find a way to reverse it.
“I believe the necessary first step to lowering health care costs is greater price transparency, but our work doesn’t stop there.
“There are many other examples of increased costs for patients and employers.
“One such example is vision insurance, an area that has experienced significant consolidation and vertical integration for more than a decade.
“This resulted in the same company controlling the production of frames and lenses, owning and operating nearly all the laboratories, employing doctors, and having independent clinics.
“The result is less transparency and higher treatment costs.
“That’s why Chairman Guthrie and I asked the Government Accountability Office to review this issue and help inform the committee on how we can bring more transparency and lower costs to Americans.
“There are many examples like this, which is why we are holding a hearing today – to examine how much we spend on different parts of our health care system and discuss potential solutions to lower costs and put money back into the hands of hardworking Americans. in the pocket.” “.