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Senator Hassan Continues Push to Lower Health Care Costs at Senate Hearing

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) highlighted the need to lower the costs of health care and prescription drugs at a Subcommittee on Children and Families hearing.

To watch Senator Hassan’s hearing questions, click here.

Senator Hassan began by discussing her push to prevent unfair hospital facility fees, and she highlighted the impact of these fees on Granite Staters. “More and more Americans are seeing higher medical bills because of unfair fees from hospitals, something that the hospitals call ‘facility fees,’ which are charged by hospital systems that own a regular doctor’s office,” said Senator Hassan. “For example, I just recently heard from a constituent, Raymond from Concord, New Hampshire, who had a quick office visit with a specialist, and then received a bill with a $1,000 fee for using a so-called ‘hospital’ facility – even though the hospital itself was across town.”

Senator Hassan asked Dr. Gee, Senior Vice President at the Center for American Progress, about the impact of these unfair fees on families and what can be done to protect families. Dr. Gee said that high prices are partly due to consolidation in the health care industry, since the same hospitals own many health care facilities, decreasing competition. Dr. Gee said that unfair pricing can be combatted by promoting price transparency so that patients can compare prices and ensuring that patients have the resources they need to understand financial assistance plans.

Senator Hassan also highlighted the bipartisan legislation she helped introduce to prevent hospitals from charging high hospital rates for care received at off-campus outpatient facilities. The bill will provide more transparency on where care is actually provided and billed and use the savings from this fix to help fill the nursing shortage.

Next, Senator Hassan turned to medication costs. “In the Inflation Reduction Act, we took on Big Pharma by finally allowing Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices, which will bring down the cost of prescription drugs for seniors and help drive down medication prices all across the board,” said Senator Hassan.

Senator Hassan asked Mrs. Erin Wiggle, a mother, how the high cost of health care has affected her family. Mrs. Wiggle shared how her adult children have to choose between more expensive but better health care coverage and lower cost coverage that is not as good.

Senator Hassan is focused on lowering health care costs for Americans. Senator Hassan previously led successful bipartisan efforts to help eliminate surprise medical billing, which has prevented millions of surprise bills. Senator Hassan also helped pass into law three bipartisan measures to increase access to generic and biosimilar medications. Additionally, the Inflation Reduction Act included a number of key provisions that Senator Hassan pushed for to take on Big Pharma and address the skyrocketing cost of prescription drugs, including allowing Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices.