Alexander: Tennesseans Should Have Better Outcomes, Better Experiences, at a Lower Cost

Posted on February 1, 2019

Asks Nashville Health Care Council Fellows for input as he looks for ways to reduce the cost of health care 

NASHVILLE, February 1, 2019 – U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today said “Tennesseans’ health care services should lead to better outcomes and better experiences at a lower cost.”

“Last year, the Senate health committee I chair held five hearings on the cost of health care, where we learned that between 30-50 percent of what we spend on health care is unnecessary,” Alexander said. “This year, I am committed to passing bipartisan legislation to lower the cost of health care for American families.” 

Alexander made his comments to the 2019 class of the Nashville Health Care Council Fellows, a group of 28 senior health care industry leaders selected to participate in a four-month program to explore new solutions to meet the challenges facing the United States health care system. 

Alexander continued: “I have asked for input from leading policy experts, doctors, nurses, patients, government officials, and others on what specific steps the federal government could take to reduce the cost of health care, and today I would like to ask you the same question. I believe one thing we can do is make it clear to patients what the price of their care is. Second, we should put that data into the hands of people who know what to do with it – for example, primary care doctors who can recommend the best treatment at the best price. And third, we should make sure they have an incentive to use that information to lower health care costs.” 

Alexander concluded: “The federal government is not going to lower the cost of health care overnight, but I believe there are steps we can take that would make a real difference to American families, and lead to better outcomes and better experiences at a lower cost.”

Background:
Last year, the Senate health committee chaired by Alexander held five hearings examining the cost of health care. At the first hearing of the series, the committee established a common understanding of how much health care costs; at the second hearing, the committee explored ways to reduce unnecessary health care spending; at the third hearing, the committee focused on ways to reduce the administrative burden on doctors and hospitals; and at the fourth hearing, the committee focused on finding ways to improve access to information about the cost and quality of health care for patients. At the fifth and final hearing of the series, the committee examined what the private sector is doing to encourage innovation and what Washington can do to get out of the way to lower costs.

In December, he sent a letter to leading health care experts at the American Enterprise Institute and the Brookings Institution, economists, doctors, nurses, patients, hospital administrators, state regulators and legislators, governors, employers, insurers, and innovators asking them to identify specific ideas about how to reduce health care costs for taxpayers, employers, and families. Comments are due by March 1, 2019 to lowerhealthcarecosts@help.senate.gov.

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