Piecemeal solutions are not the answer to rising health care costs

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In summary

Creating an Office of Healthcare Affordability would give California the information we need to understand the costs of all aspects of healthcare and how they relate to good or bad patient outcomes. .

By Assembly Member Jim Wood

Assembly member Jim Wood, a Democrat from Healdsburg, represents Assembly District 2, [email protected]

Re “Assembly health committee must authorize a vote on patient-centered legislation”; Commentary, August 5, 2021

People with chronic illness and high-deductible health care plans need our help. Is Senate Bill 568 the solution? This is well intentioned, but it would do nothing to address what everyone knows is the real problem – the high cost of prescription drugs and health care in general. These ever-increasing costs make it impossible to provide health care for everyone, preventing us from diagnosing and treating chronic diseases as early as possible, when they become more serious and difficult to treat.

What SB 568 would do is relieve pharmaceutical companies of any pressure to control costs by allowing them to shift all responsibility for these deductibles to health plans or payers without controlling the high cost of many drugs used to treat. chronic diseases. These cost increases would be one more reason for insurance companies to increase health care premiums, and it would be naïve to think that these premium cost increases would simply be borne by insurance companies. No, they would be passed on to all consumers in the form of higher premiums, making healthcare less accessible and affordable.

Since joining the Legislature, and as a health care provider and chair of the Assembly Health Committee, I have successfully fought to control the ever increasing costs of prescription drugs, to prevent abuse by pharmacy benefit managers, to improve access to healthcare, to prevent healthcare healthcare companies from abusing the system to increase their profits, and even clashed with my fellow healthcare providers. health care when I think they are protecting their profession rather than their patients.

We cannot solve a problem by making it someone else’s problem. We need global solutions, not piecemeal. Pinching at the edges has been tried and failed. This year, I took on the entire healthcare profession and industry by proposing Assembly Bill 1130, legislation that would create the Office of Healthcare Affordability. I am working closely with the Governor’s administration on the creation of this office and I hope it will meet in the last month of this legislative session.

We cannot solve problems by guessing where the problems are. The Office of Health Care Affordability will provide us with the information we need to understand the costs of all aspects of health care, and how they relate to good or poorer patient outcomes. changes in the way health care is delivered and in the control of its cost.

This is how I think you prioritize improving access and care for all Californians.

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Assembly member Jim Wood previously wrote about Big tobacco.


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