MADISON – Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce (WMC) – the combined state chamber and manufacturers’ association – released a new video Thursday covering one of the top challenges for Wisconsin employers: excessive healthcare costs.
Wisconsin ranks fourth in the nation for highest healthcare costs, impacting consumers and employers alike. Recent data from the Wisconsin Employer Survey shows healthcare costs as a top challenge identified by businesses. WMC’s Senior Director of Workforce, Education and Employment Policy Rachel Ver Velde is featured in the video alongside Walker Forge’s CEO Willard T. Walker, Jr., sharing how healthcare transparency would positively benefit the state’s business community.
“Price transparency is critical to our company and the employers of Wisconsin,” shares Walker in the Two-Minute Drill episode. “Patients will refrain from seeing the doctor because they’re unsure of how much it will cost. And that ultimately can create costs and problems for the state’s workforce long-term.”
A legislative proposal, the Know Your Healthcare Costs Act, seeks to require more transparency from Wisconsin hospitals in alignment with already-enacted federal policies. Currently, only 45 percent of Wisconsin hospitals are fully compliant with federal regulation. The bill would require hospitals to make a machine-readable digital file publicly available that contains a list of standard charges for certain items and services provided by the hospital, as well as a consumer-friendly list of “standard charges” for certain shoppable services.
“Ninety percent of voters support greater transparency to better control healthcare costs,” Ver Velde said. “Wisconsinites are rightfully concerned about the price of keeping their families healthy. Employers and employees should have the necessary tools to be informed consumers and find the best care for them.”
Other states have passed legislation similar to the Know Your Healthcare Costs Act in recent years in an effort to equip consumers with more information and lower healthcare costs. WMC is actively encouraging Wisconsin lawmakers to support the Know Your Healthcare Costs Act during this legislative session.
“Greater transparency will introduce market forces into healthcare, driving greater competition, lowering costs and empowering consumers and patients to take control of their healthcare,” Walker states in the video.