Primary care changes could be part of Senate effort to lower health care costs

A Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing on Tuesday highlighted changes to primary care coverage that could be part of a Senate effort to lower health care costs this year.

Those ideas include incentives for providers to buy drugs directly from wholesalers, expanding which services qualify for health savings account purchases, encouraging employers to offer on-site clinics to workers, and clarifying how direct primary care programs can help physicians reduce time spent on administrative tasks.

Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., has said he hopes to pass legislation this year to lower health costs, including for prescription drugs. Lawmakers have already signaled that curbing surprise medical bills will be part of the push, and Alexander has been soliciting proposals from experts and stakeholders.

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