According to Sandra Heffern, the repeal of the 80th percentile rule will not be an easy solution to Alaska’s high healthcare costs. She argues that health care pricing and costs are complex, and providers strive to provide high-quality care for Alaska patients.
In contrast, Jim Grazko believes that the only way to reduce healthcare costs in Alaska is for health care insurers like Premera to bring them into the network and control how much they will pay. Grazko emphasizes the difference between price and cost, with insurers focusing on the price they pay and health care providers concerned with the cost of providing care. He compared Premera Alaska’s healthcare costs to those in Washington but did not provide information on what other commercial insurers are currently paying.
Grazko suggests that an all-payer claims database, like those in other states, would help better understand who is paying for what. However, he notes that Alaska does not have the structure to collect or analyze this data. Heffern agrees that collecting this data would be difficult but suggests that it is necessary to better understand the healthcare system’s overall costs and pricing.
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