By now, business leaders have long been conditioned to expect shocking health benefit rate increases on an annual basis. Rising prices impact every company that offers health insurance benefits, with small businesses feeling the most pain. Those costs are ultimately borne by our economy.
It’s an increasingly urgent problem. In 2019, the Missouri Chamber conducted a survey and discovered that Missouri businesses now consider health expenses to be their second biggest problem — coming in just behind their ability to find qualified workers in a labor market that has reached full employment.
The health care cost problem is real and it’s worsening. But the problem with these issues is that they sometimes invite undesirable solutions. Lawmakers in Washington D.C. are considering legislation that seeks to address this issue with a massive top-down approach from the federal government. It’s called HR 3, or the Lower Drug Costs Now Act.
We don’t have to look very far into the rearview mirror to see how massive federal health care intrusions end up working out. Federal lawmakers would be foolish to go down this same road again.
That said, there are some reasons to be particularly concerned about this legislation. This bill is intending to replace fair market competition with government price controls. It’s another attempt to inject government bureaucracy into the free market.
Congress’ HR 3 is simply the wrong solution and it’s coming from the wrong place. Missouri business leaders aren’t looking to Washington D.C. for answers on health care pricing. They want Missouri solutions. The Missouri Chamber is already fighting in Jefferson City for change on this issue. There is a lot we can do. We must reauthorize the federal reimbursement allowance. We should pass laws that support biosimilars. We need a prescription drug monitoring program.
We have to increase access to quality health care. We need to support market- driven solutions, such as the Chamber Benefit Plan, that stabilize costs for small businesses.
And that’s just the start.
Missouri businesses can’t afford to wait any longer for solutions on health care pricing. But we can’t let this situation become an opportunity for politicians who would like to see the free market replaced with another massive government health program.
This session, the Missouri Chamber will push for Missouri solutions that provide better health care, address rising health care costs and protect our vital health care industry. Then we can finally end the health cost crisis.
Click here to see the all of our 2020 Health Care Agenda action items.