This week, Sen. Bill Cassidy, MD (R-LA) released “Ideas to Make Health Care Affordable Again,” a wide-ranging new plan aimed at reducing healthcare expenditures. The plan does not provide policy specifics, but advances several ASCRS- and medical community-supported policies such as increased use of lower cost ASCs, reduced burdens from EHR requirements, increased focus on outcomes measures, and medical liability reform. However, the plan directs the Medicare Payment Advisory Board (MedPAC) to study current barriers to reforming health care delivery systems away from fee-for-service and toward value-based care. In addition, the plan includes several provisions aimed at reducing prescription drug prices, such as allowing international drug importation, value-based purchasing for prescription drugs, and alternative payment models for innovative drugs first developed in the U.S.
In a press release on the new plan, Sen. Cassidy acknowledges the unlikelihood that Congress will act on these initiatives this year. However, he thought it was important to release the plan for discussion purposes ahead of HHS Secretary Alex Azar’s scheduled testimony before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee (of which Sen. Cassidy is a member) on the administration’s recently released drug price proposal. We will keep you updated.