Surprise Medical Bills, Drug Prices Top 2020 Health Policy Agenda

The partisan stalemate in Congress over major health care reform is set to continue in this election year as the parties highlight their differences, deal with the political fallout from President Trump’s impeachment, and contend with internal policy disagreements. But as demonstrated by the December 2019 enactment of legislation permanently repealing the ACA’s “Cadillac” tax and the law’s levies on health insurers and medical devices (without offsetting the projected revenue losses), agreement is possible. For example, there is substantial bipartisan interest in addressing more targeted issues in 2020 such as stopping “surprise” medical bills, lowering the cost of drugs, and increasing price and quality transparency.

While a deal to stop surprise bills from out-of-network providers was left out of the December package, Congress made considerable headway on the issue last year, and lawmakers are trying to craft final legislation for inclusion in a May health care package that would extend several expiring Medicare provisions. Likewise, efforts to advance drug pricing reforms are continuing with an eye to that May legislative vehicle, but there are big political obstacles ahead of getting deals done on these and other health policy issues. The fact that the Congressional Budget Office has scored certain drug pricing and surprise billing proposals as producing substantial savings to the federal government, however, may work in their favor.

Here’s our take on the most important legislative issues for employers in 2020. Click on the issues you’d like to read about.

Geoff Manville
by Geoff Manville

Principal, Mercer’s Law & Policy Group

Dorian Z. Smith
by Dorian Z. Smith

Partner, Mercer’s Law & Policy Group

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