Drug and Hospital Prices, “Medicare for All” Among Greatest Threats to Employer-Sponsored Coverage Per National Alliance Purchaser Poll

Two out of three respondents were open to Medicare public option

WASHINGTON – Feb. 20, 2020 – Employers who sponsor health benefits for millions of Americans face rising healthcare costs and the uncertainty of pending surprise medical billing and drug pricing legislation and the presidential election. As a result, almost 34% of purchasers indicated that a Medicare public option could be a helpful reform for their employer health and wellbeing strategies, while another 29% were neutral. These are among the findings of an employer survey conducted by the National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions (National Alliance).

As for other potential reforms, more than 52% responded that “Medicare for All” would be somewhat or very hurtful and hospital price transparency and rate regulation were viewed as very helpful (46% and 44% respectively).

“We’ve reached the tipping point of what employers, their employees and family members can bear for healthcare costs,” said Michael Thompson, National Alliance president and CEO. “While government action is not the first choice, if market dynamics don’t change it may be our only choice.”

When asked what threatens the affordability of employer-provided health coverage for employees and their families, respondents stated the following market forces present a significant threat:

  • Drug prices – 94.38%
  • Hospital prices – 80%
  • Industry consolidation – 51.16%
  • Lack of transparency – 67.05%
  • Intermediary conflicts of interest – 39.08%
  • Surprise medical bills – 37.08%

Beyond the issues described above, the poll also asked for insights most critical to creating a more sustainable health system for purchasers and their employees/covered lives. Top concerns included:

  • Clear and consistent pricing from hospitals and providers
  • Better aligning incentives for healthcare providers
  • Increasing quality Centers of Excellence at the local level
  • Transparency in pricing and quality indicators
  • Reduction in fraud, waste and errors
  • Elimination of pharmacy rebates

Ninety employers that are members of coalitions affiliated with the National Alliance responded to the online poll conducted in December 2019. An infographic with additional details can be found here: https://www.nationalalliancehealth.org/www/resources-new/pulse-of-the-purchaser.

About National Alliance

The National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions (National Alliance) is the only nonprofit, purchaser-led organization with a national and regional structure dedicated to driving health and healthcare value across the country. Our members represent more than 12,000 employers/purchasers and 45 million Americans spending over $300 billion annually on healthcare. To learn more, visit nationalalliancehealth.org, connect with us on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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Media Contact

Cary Conway
Email: cconway@nationalalliancehealth.org
Telephone: 972.649.4707