On Wednesday, July 27, 2018, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine Health Policy department chair Dr. Melinda Buntin told the Senate HELP Committee, “Research has consistently shown provider consolidation in the health care industry raises prices.”
Dr. Buntin testified at the How to Reduce Health Care Costs: Understanding the Cost of Health Care in America Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Hearing.
“The amount we spend on health care in the United States is high — $3.3 trillion dollars per year. That works out to more than ten thousand dollars for every man, woman, and child in the country,” said Dr. Buntin. “We currently devote 18 percent of our GDP to health care – almost one dollar out of every five spent in our economy is spent on some form of health care.”
Estimates are the average family’s out-of-pocket spending for health care annually is close to $2,750.
Vanderbilt’s Dr. Buntin said health care cost growth has slowed in recent years in part because the rate Americans are developing chronic diseases has declined.
Other contributors have been the slow increase in physician payments and the temporary freezing of physician payment rates under the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA).
Dr. Buntin added Medicare’s cost surges dropped from 2010 to 2016 because of an influx of younger Baby Boomers who have lower health care needs.
She was joined by Dr. Ashish Jha, director of the Harvard Global Health Institute, Mr. Niall Brennan, president and executive director of the Health Care Cost Institute, and Dr. David Hyman, professor at Georgetown University Law Center.
Full testimony: https://www.help.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/Buntin.pdf