Public Health Committee Meeting Focuses On High Health Care Costs

Sep 4, 2019

The Senate chambers were full for public health testimony. (Jill Sheridan/IPB News)

An interim public health committee met for the first time to discuss the high cost of healthcare in the state.

Hoosiers are paying more for healthcare than ever and according to a recent study, more than many other states. The reasons vary and include access, hospital consolidation, aging population, lack of large employers and poor population health. 

But President and CEO of Employers’ Forum of Indiana Gloria Sachdev says the study points to another reason. 

"The single biggest driver of high healthcare costs is price," says Sachdev. "This is not a mystery."

Indiana lawmakers heard from healthcare, business and policy leaders. Many offered ways they have tried to drive down costs including value-based care programs and integrated wellness systems. 

Indiana Family and Social Services Secretary Dr. Jennifer Sullivan says Indiana also needs to address health equity for all. 

"We wait to deliver social services until people get sick," says Sullivan. "And that’s the most expensive way to approach health care."

Indiana Hospital Association President Brian Tabor says the state needs to address all the costs associated with care. 

"I don’t think anyone can dismiss that our health metrics relate to the total cost of care," says Tabor. 

Policies other states have adopted include increasing transparency, ending surprise billing and creating new payment models. 

The committee will also study pharmacy benefit managers and prescription drug prices. 

Contact Jill at jsheridan@wfyi.org or follow her on Twitter at @JillASheridan.