Lipinski Offers President Obama Proposals to Rein in Health Care Costs for Families, Seniors, and Taxpayers (September 16, 2009)

In response to President Obama's request for health care reform proposals in his address last week to a Joint Session of Congress, Congressman Lipinski (IL-03) today sent the President a letter detailing legislation that would cut the federal deficit and help lower the cost of health care, aiding individuals, families, and seniors. The letter offers three bills that Lipinski introduced this year, along with other cost-cutting proposals.

"The growing cost of health care not only impacts our national budget, it also puts great strain on the budgets of families and businesses, especially during these very difficult economic times," Congressman Lipinski's letter states. "Thus it is essential that in addition to not adding to the federal debt, reform legislation should also rein in health care costs throughout the system. If we do this, individuals, businesses, and the federal government will all enjoy an easing of financial burdens."

Congressman Lipinski's bipartisan Hospital Price Transparency and Disclosure Act (H.R. 2566) would mandate that hospitals regularly disclose the prices they charge for common procedures and medications. This would help to lower prices by allowing consumers to shop for the best value and by increasing competition among hospitals. The bill has been endorsed by Consumers Union, the independent, nonprofit publisher of Consumer Reports magazine. Lipinski believes that if all health care providers were required to be transparent about their prices we could significantly lower costs.

Lipinski also asked the President to consider his bills to eliminate the billions of dollars in tax breaks that pharmaceutical and health insurance companies receive annually for their advertising and marketing expenditures. Misleading prescription drug ads needlessly increase demand for medications, and drug companies lavish gifts on doctors in an attempt to increase business. Meanwhile, health insurance advertising often consists of little more than feel-good sound bites and rosy scenarios. Lipinski's bills H.R. 2917 and H.R. 3205, the Health Insurance Company Advertising Deduction Denial Act of 2009, would eliminate these indefensible taxpayer subsidies that increase health care costs and the deficit.

In addition, Congressman Lipinski asked the President to support H.R. 684, the Medicare Prescription Drug Savings and Choice Act, which provides the HHS Secretary the authority to negotiate lower drug prices for Medicare recipients. This could save seniors and Medicare as much as $700 billion over eight years.

"While these reforms will help cut health care costs for families, seniors, and the federal government, I believe it is essential that we exhaustively look for other good ways to rein in costs and include these in reform legislation," continued Lipinski. "There are systemic reforms, including integrated care and pay for performance systems, that can both reduce costs and improve quality. For instance, you have used the Cleveland Clinic and the Mayo Clinic as good examples of providers that have been successful in containing costs while providing exemplary care. There are numerous success stories across the country, and it is critical that we take this opportunity to do all we can to institute reforms into our health care system so that Americans receive the best possible care without over-paying."

Click here to view a copy of Congressman Lipinski's letter to President Obama.

(September 16, 2009)


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