Shaheen and Bennet Join Economists to Discuss how the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act Lowers Cost

Washington, DC- Senators Jeanne Shaheen and Michael Bennet joined Debra Ness of the National Partnership for Women & Families, David Cutler of Harvard University and Len Nichols of the New America Foundation, on a conference call this afternoon to discuss how The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will contain costs in a fiscally responsible way.

A group of representatives of consumer, labor and employer organizations, economists and health policy experts sent a letter to Senators Reid, Baucus, Dodd and Harkin outlining their strong support for the payment and delivery reforms in The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and their appeal to the Senators to ensure better quality care in a fiscally responsible way. The following is an excerpt from the letter, the full text is below:

"As representatives of consumer, labor, and employer organizations, economists and health policy experts who have spent years dedicated to increasing health care coverage, improving quality, and "bending the cost curve," we applaud the Senate for creating a deliberate and meaningful proposal that will expand access to insurance, ensure better quality care and value for our health care dollars, and make unprecedented strides in addressing the growth in health care costs."

"Our health care system is too expensive for families, workers, business owners, and our nation's economy, and we need to fix it," said Shaheen. "We can deliver health care more cost effectively and chip away at our national deficit while also improving outcomes for patients. This legislation is the first step toward achieving these goals and containing health care costs for all Americans."

Bennet said: "If we are going to solve the fiscal problems that threaten our economy and our kids' future, we need to pass effective reform that will rein in skyrocketing health care costs. This bill will significantly reduce the deficit, bring down costs and provide affordable health insurance to all Americans. Now is the time to put politics and special interests aside and enact meaningful, fiscally-responsible health care reform that will put our families, our small businesses and our country on a sounder footing for generations to come."

"The National Partnership organized this letter because we are convinced that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act contains delivery and financing reforms that are unprecedented in number and scope," said Ness. "Taken together, these provisions will begin to transform our health care system -- increasing quality, giving us better value for our health care dollars, and bringing skyrocketing costs under control. We can't keep asking people to pay more for care that is fragmented, uncoordinated, often wasteful and harmful, or to continue with a system that prices so many out of the market because of gender and health rating and pre-existing conditions."

Cutler said: "The Senate health reform bill lays the foundation for significant, sustained reductions in medical care costs over the next decade and beyond. The savings to businesses, employees, and governments could be many times what has been estimated, and will provide the foundation for a new middle class prosperity."

"Federal legislation can only do two things to bend the health care cost growth curve: (1) make clear that business as usual -- automatic payment increases in a fee-for-service, pay for volume system -- is going to be replaced by "pay for value" soon; and (2) directly change incentives where Congress has jurisdiction," said Nichols. "This legislation does both those things, and would represent a giant step toward a sustainable health system that will work for all Americans."