Reading Time: 2 minutes

No one would argue that health care costs are too high, but wrap your head around these statistics from the expert testimony that was part of the recent U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee hearings on health care costs.

In 2017…

  • $3.5 trillion = the amount the United States spent on health care (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services – CMS).
  • $1 – $1.8 trillion = the amount of money that was wasted on unnecessary health care services. Fully one-half to one-third of what we spend is wasted on care that is unnecessary! That’s based on U.S. Senate HELP Committee testimony from Brent James, a member of the National Academy of Medicine.

Health Care WASTE = Three Times the Cost of National Defense

To put this in perspective, what we waste on health care services equates to:

  • Three times more than what we spent on the national defense
  • 60 times more than what we spent on Pell grants for college students
  • 550 times more than what we spent on national parks

In the wake of this testimony, Sen. Lamar Alexander is calling for ideas for legislation he will introduce to control health care costs. The Alliance received his invitation and we want to hear your ideas!

Sen. Alexander’s Request

Here’s the input that Sen. Alexander is seeking:

  • What steps should the next Congress take to address America’s rising health care costs? This includes steps that would improve the health and outcomes of patients, as well as steps that would help patients access information about care to make informed decisions.
  • What does Congress or the Trump Administration need to do to implement these steps?
  • Once implemented, what are the potential shortcomings of these steps and why are they worthy of consideration despite the shortcomings?

Share Your Ideas!

This is a great opportunity for Alliance members and their health benefit business partners to make their voice heard! If you have suggestions for legislation that would make a positive impact on health care costs, please contact us by Feb. 15 using one of these methods:

  • Send an email to Please put “Senate HELP ideas” in the subject line.
  • Call us at 800.223.4139 x6662. In the Madison area, you can use 608.210.6662.

We’ll compile the suggestions we receive and submit them to Sen. Alexander.

As Sen. Alexander noted, health care costs are a growing burden on taxpayers, employers and family budget. Now is the time to share your ideas about ways to relieve that burden.


Learn More

  • Watch or read Cheryl DeMars’ testimony to the U.S. Senate HELP Committee.

Read more about Health Policy


Health Policy Members & Employers


Health Policy Members & Employers
Brad Olm

Brad Olm
Guest Blogger, VP of Human Resources at Gordon Flesch Company

Olm joined Gordon Flesch Company as vice president of human resources in 2010. He previously served in human resource leadership positions at Edgerton Hospital and Health Services, CUNA Mutual Group, Allstate Insurance Company and Avon Products. He also served as an active duty commissioned officer in the United States Air Force. He is a certified Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR). Olm has served on The Alliance Board of Directors since 2013 and has been board chair since 2015.

See More Posts