SAN FRANCISCO, May 19, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Pacific Business Group on Health (PBGH), which represents private employers and public purchasers spending more than $100 billion annually on health care, is joined today by 35 organizations representing many of the nation’s leading private and public sector employers in issuing a letter to congressional leaders requesting they take immediate action to ensure Americans have access to high-quality, affordable health care both now and long after the COVID-19 pandemic ends. PBGH was joined by three other national organizations -- American Business Council, The ERISA Industry Committee, and the National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions -- in drafting and coordinating the letter.

The joint letter offers recommendations to achieve the following goals:

-- Protect patients and providers by strengthening access to primary care services -- Protect consumers and employers from price gouging, surprise billing and unwarranted price increases -- Protect taxpayers by ensuring accountability and transparency of federal funds for providers -- Protect workers by providing health coverage for those who have been laid-off and furloughed -- Protect self-insured employers and health plans by offering insurance market risk mitigation arrangements

“Large employers have grave concerns about the unprecedented strain the COVID-19 pandemic is placing on our health care system and its impact on the ability of millions of Americans to get the medical care they need now and in the long-term,” said Elizabeth Mitchell, president and CEO of Pacific Business Group on Health.

PBGH and co-signees of the letter are making specific recommendations of Congress for each of their priorities and are requesting that Phase 4 legislation include provisions that can help reshape policy to protect the health care benefits of the roughly 150 million people receiving employer-sponsored health coverage and the American public as a whole.

The specific recommendations include:

-- Providing immediate financial assistance to ensure primary care practices can survive the sudden and significant loss of revenue and can continue to serve their patients -- Allowing High Deductible Health Plans to waive all or part of cost sharing for primary care visits -- Mandating health care provider organizations certify they will not engage in mergers and acquisitions of other provider organizations for 12 months -- Enforcing a price-gouging ban, and requiring health care price transparency -- Enacting a market-based solution to surprise medical billing -- Capping costs for mandated out-of-network coverage -- Enacting a market-based solution to surprise medical billing -- Considering a mechanism to prevent COVID premiums spikes

“The COVID-19 crisis has exposed the pre-existing failures of our health care system and reinforced the fact that our physical and economic health are inextricably linked,” Mitchell said. “The current situation must be a catalyst for expediting the reforms that have been needed for years. Doing so is essential not only to ensuring the health of our citizens, but also to restoring our economy. We are urging Congress to take bold action now.”

To review the letter in full, please visit here.

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Letter Signatories:

Coordinating Organizations

American Benefits Council

The ERISA Industry Committee

National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions

Pacific Business Group on Health

Signing Organizations

The Alliance

Central Penn Business Group on Health

Colorado Business Group on Health

DFW Business Group on Health

Employers Health Purchasing Corporation

Employers' Advanced Cooperative on Healthcare

Florida Alliance for Healthcare Value

Greater Philadelphia Business Coalition on Health

HC21

Health Action Council

Healthcare Purchaser Alliance of Maine

Houston Business Coalition on Health

Kansas Business Group on Health

The Leapfrog Group

Lehigh Valley Business Coalition on Healthcare (LVBCH)

Louisiana Business Group on Health

Memphis Business Group on Health

Midwest Business Group on Health

National Association of Health Underwriters

Nevada Business Group on Health

North Carolina Business Group on Health

Northeast Business Group on Health

Partnership for Employer-Sponsored Coverage

Pittsburgh Business Group on Health

Rhode Island Business Group on Health

Self-Insurance Institute of America, Inc. (SIIA)

Silicon Valley Employers Forum

South Carolina Business Coalition on Health

St. Louis Area Business Health Coalition

Texas Business Group on Health

The Washington Health Alliance

Wyoming Business Coalition on Health

About Pacific Business Group Health

Pacific Business Group on Health is an action-oriented 501c(3) non-profit organization focused on improving health outcomes, experience and affordability for consumers and purchasers across the United States. Since 1989, PBGH has distinguished itself as a national innovator driven by some of the largest and most influential public and private purchasers of health care in the country, including Boeing, CalPERS, Comcast, Intel, and Walmart. PBGH leverages purchaser action in partnership with providers, payers, and policymakers to identify, test, and scale innovative models for improving health outcomes and affordability.

Lisa Zamosky Pacific Business Group on Health 917-751-0232 lzamosky@pbgh.org James Chisum 562-493-6023 jamesc@millergeer.com

Copyright 2020 GlobeNewswire, Inc.

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