Indiana hospitals, insurers can't agree on how to cut health costs

Indiana lawmakers are reviewing several written responses from hospitals and health insurers about how to lower the state's high healthcare costs, which show little agreement on a solution to the problem or who's to blame, Indianapolis Business Journal reported.

In a December letter to 20 healthcare executives, the state legislature threatened to "pursue legislation to statutorily reduce prices" if they didn't come up with a plan by April. The letter cited a 2020 Rand study that found Indiana ranks fifth in the country for hospital facility fees.

Several hospitals said they are already taking steps to control prices, such as Indianapolis-based Indiana University Health's plan to freeze prices. Some said legislation will not help the problem.

"The market is working, and we should let it continue in the most consumer- and business-friendly manner possible," wrote Brian Tabor, president of the Indiana Hospital Association, according to the Business Journal. "Heavy-handed government interventions, such as the statutory price-setting of one industry mentioned in your letter, will not accomplish this goal of sustainable long-term savings."

House Speaker Todd Huston and Senate President Rodic Bray have not said if they will act on their warning, according to the Business Journal. Whether the written responses to lawmakers — totaling more than 50 pages — will turn into a usable plan is unclear, the Business Journal reported.

"Our overarching goal is to bring down the cost of healthcare and deliver real savings for everyday Hoosiers and business owners," Mr. Huston said, according to the Business Journal. "While I'm still reviewing all of the responses from Indiana’s insurers and nonprofit hospitals, I'm fully committed to continuing these discussions and meeting with stakeholders."

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