SITE Act would save Tennesseans healthcare costs
Tennessee is an exceptional place in which to grow up, start a career, raise a family or expand a business. More and more people are recognizing the appeal of the Volunteer State, as in 2022 we saw the largest one-year population increase in over 15 years. As they say, we must be doing something right. But amidst our substantial growth, we can’t look past the pressing challenges that could stifle our future success. Tennessee’s below average public health landscape is one of these obstacles.
With the skyrocketing cost of health care affecting all Americans, we need better solutions for more affordable care — quickly.
Tennessee ranks sixth in deaths caused by cardiovascular disease, and nearly 14% of adults are diagnosed with diabetes. This number is likely higher, taking into account undiagnosed cases. There are also over 1 million residents who are 65 or older in the state so considering our aging population and ubiquitous chronic health challenges in many communities, ensuring people can afford health care should be a top priority.
I am encouraged to hear about proposed legislation in Congress that addresses one issue that drives costs in health care. The Facilitating Accountability in Reimbursements Act (FAIR) in the House and the Site-based Invoicing and Transparency Enhancement Act (SITE) in the Senate would fix a longstanding, unbalanced hospital billing practice that raises prices for visits to doctors.
This unfortunate practice is becoming more and more common. As large hospitals buy up private physicians’ practices, they are charging patients more for services at the locations they’ve absorbed. Patients get higher prices even though the delivery of services hasn’t changed, which is keeping medical bills way too high for millions of people across the country.
Meaningful solutions for soaring health care costs across the board and help for Tennessee’s challenging public health landscape is an urgent need. Unfair hospital billing cannot continue. We need our legislative leaders, like Sens. Marsha Blackburn and Bill Hagerty, and their House colleagues who sit on influential health care committees — like U.S. Rep. Diana Harshbarger of Tennessee’s 2nd Congressional Distirct — to become strong advocates for the SITE Act and FAIR Act in Washington.
If the SITE Act becomes law, patients would see significant savings and Medicare spending could be reduced by over $150 billion. Even more — this kind of reform could also reduce the federal budget deficit by as much as $279 billion when site-neutral policies spread into the commercial market.
Thankfully, we can mitigate the burden of high healthcare costs by implementing thoughtful solutions to put money back in the pockets of patients. Fair hospital billing reform is an opportunity to do just this, and legislative action from our federal delegation can make it happen now.