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There are a series of legislative proposals in the Indiana Senate and House of Representatives to address health care costs. These proposals are driven by special interests and will not achieve the desired outcome and could actually lead to higher costs for Hoosiers.
The proposals include unilaterally instituting price caps, nullifying long-standing contract terms and interfering in hospital negotiations with private payers.
They reflect a lack of understanding and appreciation for how our complex health care system functions and will likely have the unintended consequence of forcing health care costs higher.
The House and Senate proposals unfairly and arbitrarily single out Indiana’s nonprofit hospitals, which provide 24/7/365 services to Hoosier communities across the state. This essentially gives a free pass to other parts of the health care system that also contribute to rising health care costs, such as health insurers and pharmaceutical manufacturers.
As the largest and only academic health system in Indiana, IU Health has a unique responsibility to be a leader in matters that affect the health of Hoosiers. This includes keeping health care affordable, so Hoosiers continue to have access to high-quality care. Two years ago, IU Health committed to align its hospital prices with national average commercial rates by 2025.
Unfortunately, this progress on price reductions and a commitment to affordability are under threat from the new House and Senate proposals. We cannot continue with our pricing affordability plan if the Indiana legislature pursues unprecedented legislation that inserts government in private contract negotiations, hiring practices and the setting of prices.
We ask the Members of the General Assembly to pause to understand the consequences of these proposals and make significant changes and improvements to their legislation. IU Health has been at the table for months and remains eager to work with our legislative and other health care industry colleagues to develop sustainable solutions that will ensure continued access to affordable health care for all Hoosiers. Our Legislature has previously proven their support for fair and balanced legislation, and we ask the same today. The survival of our essential hospitals and the future health of Hoosiers depend on it.
Brian Shockney is the president of IU Health South Central Region.