The “painful” process of trying to reduce health costs in Indiana

Haggling for healthcare

INDIANAPOLIS– Indiana lawmakers are looking to lower the price of health care for Hoosiers, but the process is being described as “painful.”

In the list of proposals to help reduce the cost of health care, some ideas have more support like SB 325, a hospital price disclosure list.

“I really think this just codifies federal code and puts it in Indiana code and I think it’s a good bill and I appreciate your support,” said SB 325 Republican author State Sen. Justin Busch before the committee voted unanimously to pass it.

Then there are proposals like SB 62 that deals with prescription drug rebates and pricing. Under this legislation, the patient would receive 85 percent of all prescription rebates at the point of sale.

“SB 62 will help patients in Indiana pay less for their medicines,” said Republican author State Sen. Vaneta Becker.

Eli Lilly and Company testified in favor claiming programs already doing this are showing success.

“It lowered patient cost by an average of $130 million per eligible prescription at no discernible increase in premium cost,” said Mike O’Connor, Eli Lilly’s Senior Director of Government Affairs.

Those against the proposal don’t think it will work for everyone.

“We’re taking away choice from employers,” said Logan Harrison, a lobbyist for Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield.

The Indiana Chamber of Commerce opposes the bill.

“While you may be trying to help the employee, at the end of the day, it’s going to impact our bottom line,” said Mike Ripley, Vice President, Health Care Policy for the Indiana Chamber. “We may actually end up hurting the employee because we are going to have to either bear more of that cost or the employee is going to have to bear some of that cost plan.”

At the end of the day, lawmakers passed the bill through committee. Most lawmakers that voted to advance the bill made it clear they were only allowing the bill to be improved and did not entirely support it yet.

Republican State Sen. Ed Charbonneau, the Chair of the Senate Health and Provider Services Committee said thanked them for doing so.

“I know this is painful, I know this is gut-wrenching,” Sen. Charbonneau explained. “But at least the process can continue for a while and the discussions can continue.”

The bill passed 10-2.

There are also bills related to health care pricing in the Indiana House of Representatives, click here to learn more about them.

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