December 14, 2018
A new White House health care report contains over 50 recommendations for the administration, Congress, and the states to increase choice and competition in the health care system.
Modernize HSAs: The report calls on Congress to allow employees to use their health savings accounts (HSAs) to enter into provider-consumer fixed-fee arrangements, including direct primary-care arrangements, and to allow HSA-qualified plans to cover preventive low-cost treatments for chronic conditions.
Increase Transparency: The report calls on HHS to increase access to Medicare claims data and for the administration to “encourage the private sector and states to build consumer-friendly websites capable of displaying price information for the most common transactions,” and to make them accessible to employers, third-party transparency advocates, and the public.
Outlook: While bipartisan legislation to modernize HSAs may pass next year, it is not clear what steps the Department of Health and Human Services will take to increase transparency. Senate HELP Committee Chair Lamar Alexander (R-TN) plans to focus next year on making the health care system more of a market and getting rid of barriers to competition. He recently sent a letter to a number of health care policy experts, including HR Policy, asking for recommendations to reduce costs.