KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

U.S. Chamber Outlines Ways To Decrease Medical Costs

"Making use of backstops for healthcare insurance" could help address "soaring medical costs," the U.S. Chamber of Commerce said during a conference on Friday, Dow Jones Newswires reports. The conference was held "to address practical things workers and employers can do now to ease healthcare and retirement burdens, beyond waiting for Congressional reforms."

"The chamber is bolstering the use of a healthcare insurance backstop, what's referred to as reinsurance. This type of backstop provides protection to private insurers against unforeseen events, such as an employee needing heart surgery."

"In particular insurance groups, surgery and other medical procedures typically cause workers' healthcare premiums to increase, said James Gelfand, a senior manager for the chamber's health policy division. Reinsurance is a way to lower and control healthcare costs, he said. The chamber said reinsurance should be initially targeted at specific illnesses and should not have mandatory participation, just to name a few proposed rules. The chamber additionally outlined several other recommendations for U.S. lawmakers to consider, including how to restructure the healthcare payment system, addressing retiree healthcare, ways to increase retirement savings without mandating automatic Individual Retirement Accounts and encouraging more education on how to make retirement assets last" (Hughes, 6/10).

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