In a letter to members of the Congressional Health Care Task Force, NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons urged Congress to pursue several health care priorities for manufacturers.
The big picture: Timmons laid out three core principles that guide NAM health care advocacy and engagement.
- First, the NAM believes that free enterprise, competitiveness, individual liberty and equal opportunity are the values that can successfully push forward the process of simplifying health care and achieving lower costs.
- Second, the NAM believes that the medical credo “first, do no harm” should guide health care policy efforts.
- Third, the NAM believes that the health care policy and business environment must allow and encourage unparalleled innovation, investment and manufacturing right here in the U.S.
In accordance with these principles, the NAM is pushing for several specific policy advances.
Transparency: “Manufacturers appreciate ongoing efforts to improve transparency in health care,” Timmons wrote. “Our industry has experienced the impacts of cost variation related to a range of health care services. These impacts can make health coverage more frustrating and expensive, for both consumers and employers who sponsor coverage.”
Connectivity: “The technology is available, and businesses have the capability to deliver and realize the potential of a fully connected health care system,” Timmons wrote. “Privacy laws and regulations need updating so that the deployment and adoption of new innovations to improve connectivity in our health care system can flourish.”
HSAs: The NAM believes Health Savings Accounts allow employees to have more control over their health care spending. To ensure HSAs can increase consumer flexibility and benefit American employees, the NAM supports efforts to increase limits and modernize rules governing HSAs.
Value-based arrangements: “Manufacturers are encouraged by the potential for health care innovation through outcomes-based health care arrangements,” Timmons wrote. “These arrangements would align incentives across a range of parties—health care providers, employers, patients, insurers and pharmaceutical and life sciences manufacturers—so that delivery of care, payment arrangements and clinical outcomes are achieved in an efficient manner.”
Association health plans: The NAM supports efforts to reform, advance and strengthen Association Health Plans. AHPs are beneficial especially to small businesses that struggle to offer affordable health care coverage to their employees. The NAM believes that additional legislation is needed to protect the longevity and sustainability of AHPs as a health care option.
Innovation: The NAM believes strong intellectual property protection is essential to creating a more competitive health care market, bringing down prices and fostering innovation by encouraging research and development.
The last word: “Despite the many challenges and strains facing the health care system, we are a nation that prides itself on first-class, best-in-the-world medical care,” Timmons wrote. “Our institutions, public and private, continue to lead the world on patient care, lifesaving treatments and medical research. We must uphold those successes while seeking to control or lower the cost of health care through market-oriented approaches. Employers are leading a great deal of innovation in health care delivery, and those positive developments must be allowed to flourish.”