NewsHealth Care Costs and Affordability Being the Key Issues in 2024

Health Care Costs and Affordability Being the Key Issues in 2024

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As the nation gears up for this year’s elections, health care costs and affordability, though not in the spotlight, continue to be pressing concerns for a significant portion of the public. Recent surveys indicate that about 25% of Americans, either personally or within their families, grappled with challenges in paying medical bills over the past year. Health care affordability has emerged as a crucial topic for voters, with a quarter expressing its significance in election discussions, according to KFF polling.

A new brief from the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) sheds light on the health cost and affordability landscape, highlighting emerging trends that could shape discussions and policies in 2024. These include various aspects, from ongoing and proposed reforms in prescription drug pricing and transparency requirements to alterations in how medical debt affects credit reports.

Key issues and trends in health cost and affordability to watch in 2024 encompass:

1. Site-neutral payment reforms

2. Price transparency requirements and their potential impact on costs

3. Prescription drug pricing policies and implications for spending and affordability

4. Policy changes affecting Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs), often referred to as prescription drug middlemen

5. Introduction of new drugs and therapies influencing health spending and outcomes

6. Ramifications of virtual care expansion on costs, access, and affordability

7. State-level cost control measures and spending initiatives

8. Recent protections against surprise billing and their effects on private insurance premiums

9. Policies addressing out-of-pocket health costs and consumer medical debt

10. Shifts toward value-based payment and their impact on overall health care costs

11. Antitrust agencies’ initiatives to address consolidation in healthcare markets

Drew Altman, President and CEO of KFF, recently delved into the twin challenges of health care costs and affordability facing the United States. His column offers insights into the complex landscape and the urgent need for addressing these critical issues. As discussions around health care intensify in the election year, the spotlight on these challenges is expected to grow, prompting further exploration and potential policy adjustments.

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