October 23, 2014

Congress Should Do More to Curb Health Care Costs

  • The American health care system is a patchwork of public and private programs that serve citizens in different ways, depending on their age, military...

After the Supreme Court’s summer ruling on the 2-year-old health care reform law and President Obama’s re-election, House Speaker John Boehner says Republicans plan to rely heavily on the congressional oversight process to register their continued opposition to his 2-year-old Affordable Care Act (ACA).

“Over the past couple of years, I have noted there are essentially three major routes to repeal of the president’s law: the courts, the presidential election process and the congressional oversight process,” Boehner wrote last week in an op-ed for The Cincinnati Enquirer.

“With two of those three routes having come up short, the third and final one becomes more important than ever,” he continued. “Vigorous oversight of the health care law by the House can be expected and, in fact, is already under way.”

While oversight can play an important role in holding down wasteful spending and inefficient bureaucracy, it would be helpful for congressional efforts to take larger steps towards curbing the future growth of health care costs. These steps can build on the reforms in the ACA instead of focusing on constantly rehashing old arguments about the law.

A recent report by the National Coalition on Health Care -- a collaborative effort by a wide variety of provider groups, insurance companies and patient advocates -- suggests a number of legislative changes that could produce savings in the short term and and move the debate over long-term savings forward in a more constructive way.