Health Policy Updates
Health Policy Awareness
Awareness is the first step in advocating for better health policy. The Alliance builds awareness by providing updates or links to current information on:
- Critical health policy or regulatory issues for self-funded employers at the federal or state level.
- Current Alliance activities that aim to influence health policy.
How You Can Get Involved:
- Share Your Story
- Join the Health Policy Committee.
- Connect your Government Affairs staff to The Alliance.
- Follow The Alliance Blog. New health policy posts on current issues are added each month.
- Attend Events focused on current topics, including our spring health policy event.
Cathy Mahaffey is CEO of the non-profit Common Ground Healthcare Cooperative, Wisconsin’s largest individual market carrier serving 20 counties in Eastern Wisconsin. If you follow health policy or political news, you may have heard mention of “surprise bills,” a...read more
House and Senate members have returned from their summer recess, which started at the beginning of August and ran through Labor Day. Let’s take a look at the major health care policy matters that are on deck for consideration before lawmakers return once again to...read more
What’s New in Health Policy?
Cadillac Tax Repeal
The Cadillac Tax is a 40 percent tax on the value of employer-sponsored health coverage that exceeds certain benefit thresholds. Enacted as part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the tax was originally slated to go into effect in 2018 but has twice been delayed by Congress. The tax is currently slated to take effect in 2022.
The American Benefits Council has pledged to continue to work for full repeal of the Cadillac Tax. The Alliance belongs to the American Benefits Council on behalf of its member employers and supports The Council’s efforts to Fight the 40.
- August 2019
- July 2019
- June 2019
- March 2019
- February 2019
- January 2019
- December 2018
- July 2018
- June 2018
- April 2018
- March 2018
The Alliance Joins in Urging Congress to Support Legislation to Lower Health Care Costs.
The Alliance is one of over 60 organizations, signing a letter sent to the U.S. Congress on Aug. 7 to urge lawmakers to “support legislation such as the bipartisan Lower Health Care Costs Act.” This letter notes that, “employers are at the forefront of innovation to improve health care quality and decrease costs” and recommends that Congress consider the following five items:
1. End the surprise medical billing crisis by enacting a local, market-based benchmark backstop.
2. Reduce the high costs of prescription drugs.
3. Require transparency, fairness and completion in the health care system.
4. Fund America’s public health infrastructure.
5. Improve health information technology.
FEDERAL — Supporting Transparency in Public Reporting
The Alliance joined stakeholders nationwide in expressing support for The Leapfrog Group’s comment letter on proposed fiscal year 2020 updates to Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) rules and regulations. Leapfrog’s CEO said the comments focused on “the importance of upholding transparency in public reporting so purchasers, payers and consumers get the information they deserve about American hospitals.”
FEDERAL – Alliance Signs on to National Letter About Surprise Medical Billing
The Alliance added its name to the ERISA Industry Committee (ERIC) letter to the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) committee that addressed key provisions of proposed legislation on surprise medical billing. The letter objected to including mandatory binding arbitration in the legislation, calling it an “inefficient and ineffective approach to addressing surprise billing.” The American Benefits Council, the National Alliance of Health Care Purchasing Coalitions and other employer coalitions also signed the letter.
FEDERAL – Letter Suggests Ways to Lower Health Care Costs
The Alliance expressed its support for the American Benefits Council’s letter to the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) committee. The letter shared recommendations for specific steps that would help reduce U.S. health care costs.
FEDERAL – Alliance Participates in Effort to Repeal Cadillac Tax
The Alliance joined a diverse group of organizations in signing a letter asking members of Congress to support legislation that will permanently repeal the Cadillac Tax. HR 748, the Middle Class Health Benefits Tax Repeal Act of 2019, would repeal the impending 40% tax on employer-sponsored health care coverage that exceeds certain benefit thresholds. Alliance members were also encouraged to contact legislators to express their support.
FEDERAL — The Alliance Urges CMS to Adopt Proposed Rules for Direct-to-Consumer Drug Advertising. Read the letter.
FEDERAL — Comment Letter on American Patients First Drug Pricing Blueprint
The National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions has submitted a comment letter on the American Patients First drug pricing blueprint that aims to lower drug prices and reduce patients’ out-of-pocket costs. The Alliance is a member of the national organization on behalf of its member employers
FEDERAL — Letter Identifies Threat to Hospital Transparency, Safety.
The Alliance has signed on to a letter sent by The Leapfrog Group in response to “a significant threat to the transparency of the safety of American hospitals.” The letter urges the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to not withhold or curtail public information on deadly infection rates and rates of accidents and injuries in American hospitals. CMS’ proposed rule for the Inpatient Prospective Payment System would remove some critical measures from the Inpatient Quality Reporting Program (IQR), which is the only federal program that exists to publicly report safety and quality information by hospitals. Some of the measures targeted for removal are used to determine whether hospitals can participate in The Alliance’s QualityPath program. The proposal for removing infections, such as clostridium difficile (C. Diff) and Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), from reporting requirements says hospitals spend about 2 million hours counting these infections. Yet studies suggest that infections cost the economy $147 billion a year and untold suffering and grief, according to Leapfrog. Leapfrog also noted that hospital-based accidents and injuries are among the leading causes of death in the United States.
FEDERAL — Health Policy in Transit: Working to Make Wellness Voluntary
The National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions has published its latest Health Policy in Transit: Working to Make Wellness Voluntary – Moving Forward in the Absence of New Guidance. Questions may be directed to Michael Thompson, president and CEO of the National Alliance, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202.775.9300 x200
FEDERAL — The American Benefits Council Provides Key Insights on Health Care Transparency. Read more here.
Your voice matters! Make sure your elected representatives understand where you stand on public policy issues that matter to The Alliance and our members.
Step 2: Contact your elected representatives on policy items that matter to you, including participating in “Calls to Action” sponsored by The Alliance and our national partners. Share the story of your company and why pending policy decisions will make it easier, or harder, for you to offer high quality affordable health care coverage for your employees and their families.
Step 3: If you have government affairs staff or contract lobbyists, consider asking them to work with us on important health care issues.