Sen. Alexander calls for healthcare providers to be transparent with patients

Photo from Sen. Alexander's Twitter account.

Tennessee U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander, Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee (HELP), furthered his attempts to reduce health care costs for Tennesseans and other Americans. On Tuesday, the Senate held a hearing on legislation he introduced called the “Lower Health Care Costs Act.

The bill outlines five main goals:

  1. Ending surprise medical bills
  2. Reducing prescription drug prices
  3. Improving healthcare transparency
  4. Improving public health
  5. Improving the exchange of patients’ health information

Within each parameter of the bill are three dozen specific bipartisan provisions that will reduce what Americans pay for health care.

According to Senator Alexander, the bill is a crucial first step in lowering health insurance costs.

“The cost of health insurance remains way too expensive. And I’m sure that the debate about how to fix that will continue, but that is not this discussion. That is another discussion. We will never have lower cost health insurance until we have lower cost health care,” he explained.

Watch the full hearing here.

The hearing contained several heartfelt testimonies from individuals or their representatives who have been personally affected by expensive healthcare costs. Frederick Isasi, Executive Director of Families USA, shared the struggle of a Tennessee resident referred to as “Deborah.”

A major topic discussed during Tuesday’s hearing was transparency -- specifically the need for prescription drug companies to be open about when and why they increase the prices of their medications.

Frederick Isasi, Executive Director of Families USA, who spoke on behalf of a Tennessee resident during the hearing, expressed why he believes this is so important.

“We are incentivizing smart legal tactics, not innovation. And these drugs are life saving, so at the very least, these companies should be able to justify, like insurance plans do, why they’re charging what they’re charging, and what the increases are for,” he said.

The bill is now scheduled to be marked up in the Senate on June 26th.

Depend on NewsChannel 9 to keep you posted on the status of this bill.

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