LG Duncan To Host Healthcare Access And Cost Task Force

This news dropped just before Senator Isakson’s announcement on Wednesday, and didn’t get the attention it may deserve. While it may seem we do a lot of “study” on healthcare issues, there is one item here that seems to have bi-partisan, bi-cameral support: Price Transparency.

Patients are tired of surprise billing, and an inability to get a direct answer when they inquire about actual cost of services. A specific issue gaining traction within the halls of the Capitol is that many people are discovering they are being charged MORE from providers if they have insurance than if they are a cash payer. And “more” here means net cost to consumer, after the insurance company pays its negotiated share.

We now have a healthcare system where insurance companies, pharmacy benefit managers, hospitals, and other providers negotiate with each other, and the consumer is left in the dark of who is paying whom, and more importantly, how the consumer can ensure they’re getting the most out of their health care dollar.

Good luck on this committee getting some answers. There are many ready to fight tooth and nail to keep that from happening.

The full press release from Wednesday:

ATLANTA — Today, Lt. Governor Geoff Duncan announced the Task Force on Healthcare Access and Cost. The group will pinpoint improvements that can be made to tackle the cost and access burdens to healthcare across Georgia. Specially, the Task Force will evaluate: 1) price transparency and other free market solutions; 2) data and technology utilization; and 3) employer innovation. Duncan will chair the group, which will hold three meetings before the start of the legislative session in January.

“Georgia has taken huge steps toward being a leader in the field of healthcare,” Duncan stated. “I am proud of the work we accomplished to pass 22 healthcare bills during the legislative session, but there is still much to be done. Now is the time to build on that momentum and find high-quality, affordable and accessible healthcare solutions. I am looking forward to working with this distinguished and diverse group of individuals to find common-sense solutions for all Georgians.”

Members of the Task Force will include:

Chair, Lt. Governor Geoff Duncan
Senator Dean Burke, MD, Vice-Chairman of the Senate Health & Human Services Committee
Senator Gloria Butler, Member of the Senate Health & Human Services Committee
Senator Jack Hill, Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee
Senator Kay Kirkpatrick, MD, Chairman of the Senate Ethics Committee 
Senator Ben Watson, MD, Chairman of the Senate Health & Human Services Committee 
Ryan Loke, Special Projects Coordinator, Office of the Governor
Barbara Barrett, Director of Human Resources & Benefits, Langdale Industries, Inc.
Lance Boles, Pharm D., Hartwell Drugs
Jon Duke, MD, Director of Health Informatics, Georgia Tech
Gregory Esper, MD, MBA, Associate Chief Medical Officer, Emory Health Care
Clark Howard, Consumer Advocate
Toni P. Miles, MD, PhD, Professor of Epidemiology & Biostatistics, University of Georgia
Debra Stokes, Executive Director, Georgia Rural Health Innovation Center at Mercer University
Carie Summers, CFO and Senior Vice-President, Georgia Hospital Association
Jesse Weathington, Georgia Director, Total Spectrum

Meetings will be held on Thursday, September 5th; Wednesday, October 9th; and Tuesday, November 5th. All meetings will be streamed by the Senate Press Office. Additionally, the Lt. Governor will accept questions and moderate the discussion using Facebook Live. The first meeting will be held in the Georgia State Capitol, Room 450.

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