Senator's proposal to lower healthcare costs touts ASC, physician-owned hospital use: 5 things to know

Laura Dyrda - Print  |

A new proposal introduced in Congress could mean a boon for ASCs in the future.


Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., who is a member of the Senate Health and Finance Committees, revealed several proposals on lowering healthcare costs, including encouraging patients to undergo healthcare at the most cost-effective site of service.

Here are five things to know:

1. The proposal specifically asked Congress to look for ways to promote "greater use of ambulatory surgery centers, free-standing emergency rooms, rural emergency centers and physician-owned hospitals" as the lower-cost care setting.

2. The proposal also tackles "monopolies" in the healthcare provider space and asked MedPAC and the Medicaid and CHIP Payment Advisory Committee to conduct a study examining several factors, including the difference in payment between services provided by physicians, ASCs and hospitals that could be "adding unnecessary costs to the system and increasing the amount patients are paying." The groups would then report findings to Congress.

3. In line with the Trump administration's previous proposals, Sen. Cassidy's proposal also touches on free market healthcare, price transparency and promoting health savings accounts. The proposal encourages making HSAs more "useful and used" and requiring price transparency for elective services. "Encouraging price transparency will lower costs, reduce pricing variation between providers, improve quality and return power to the patient," states the proposal.

4. The proposal also targets the administrative cost burden in healthcare by reducing regulations, repealing the employer mandating and reforming the meaningful use program.

5. A single line in the proposal addresses tort reform, asking Congress to address medical liability. "Defensive medicine and frivolous lawsuits have contributed to unnecessary healthcare spending and ultimately led to costs spiraling out of control."

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