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Health Care Cost Containment Strategies Discussed

KansasCapitol (Sept. 13, 2019) – The 2019 Special Committee on Financial Institutions and Insurance held their first of three meetings yesterday to discuss a variety of health care and financial issues. Yesterday's focus was to discuss the growing cost of health care and to identify ways to control cost. The committee, which is made of Kansas Senate and House members, heard from several presenters including representatives from the Kansas State Employee Health Plan, the National Conference of State Legislators, Pharma, America's Health Insurance Plans and the Kansas Hospital Association. As part of the committee's focus, they were tasked to tackle two issues: 1) identify policies and approaches that have failed to address the high costs of health care benefits; and 2) identify measures that could be expected to lead to more affordable and accessible health care benefits.

Many of the conferees provided detailed data related to the latest trends in health care costs associated with pharmaceutical drugs, hospital expenditures and physician services. As part of KHA's testimony, the discussion focused on the underpayment of the public payors, ie Medicaid and Medicare, and the cost shift that subsequently occurs. In addition, KHA was asked to comment on the financial struggles facing rural hospitals and the work that is being done to develop alternative models of care. The committee also heard from several business organizations that highlighted services that could be provided to reduce health care expenditures in the state employee health plan.

At the conclusion of the meeting, the committee decided to delay any recommendations until they reconvened later this year. The next meeting is scheduled for Oct. 3.