Indiana legislators threaten to act if health systems don't lower costs

Indiana legislators warned healthcare organizations that they must work together with third-party payers to bring Indiana's healthcare costs down to the national average by 2025, threatening to "pursue legislation to statutorily reduce prices" if they don't have a plan by April, the Indy Star reported Jan. 24.

The order came in a December letter to about 20 recipients, acknowledging that the industry is complex. It cites a 2020 RAND study that found Indiana ranks fifth in the country when it comes to hospital facility fees.

"We're trying to say to them, this is your chance to lead and fix the problem. We'd prefer you do it," House Speaker Todd Huston told the Star about the letter. "If not, we'll be back here next year and probably an approach that's a little more heavy handed."

Insurance and hospital leaders told the Star that finding a solution will be challenging. The Insurance Institute of Indiana and the Indiana Hospital Association have been discussing forming a group to improve efficiency and communication, Marty Wood, the insurance institute's president, told the newspaper.

"This obviously heightens the speed with which we need to get that done," he said.

Bloomington-based Indiana University Health recently announced a price freeze to bring its prices to the national average. But Michael Hicks, director of the Center for Business and Economics Research, recently wrote that it's not enough.

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