Employers want lawmakers to curb rising pharma costs
A majority of employers say they were relieved to see the GOP’s repeal and replace plan fizzle out last month, and instead have their own ideas on how to best reform healthcare and how to rein in costs.
In a poll conducted by Mercer days following the crumbling of the American Health Care Act, more than half who invest in employer-sponsored healthcare said they were happy to see the GOP plan fail.
Nearly a quarter (24%) of employers told the consulting firm they “very relieved” of the legislation’s failure, while 32% said they were “relieved.”
Meanwhile, 16% said they were disappointed the legislation didn’t pass, 5% were “very disappointed” it didn’t pass, and the remainder of employers had no opinion. A planned vote on the ACHA was scrapped in late March at President Donald Trump’s request after a number of Republicans said they opposed the bill.
With more than 61% of covered Americans getting health coverage through employer plans, Mercer says businesses should help play a key role in recognizing and addressing the underlying cost concerns plaguing the healthcare market.
“Cost-shifting does not address the underlying causes of healthcare cost growth, and increasing burdens on employers will simply make it harder for them to provide affordable coverage to their employees,” Mercer says.
So what do employers say are the top issues lawmakers should address?
Topping the employer wish list, according to the Mercer poll, is help with controlling the climbing cost of pharmaceuticals with a score of 4.4/5 (employers ranked policymaker priorities 1-5, 5 being “top priority).
The following improvements also made the list of employer desires: improving price transparency (4.1), stabilizing the individual markets (4), maintaining Medicaid funding (4) and investing more in population health and education (3.7).
While neither the ACA nor the AHCA had any significant impact to how employers offer healthcare, there are aspects of both legislations that would still influence some employer plans.
Maintaining Medicaid funding and having a stabilized individual market will lower hikes to private payers by allowing people not in employer-sponsored plans have access to affordable coverage and avoid a rise in the number of uninsured.