Jim Grazko, in his commentary, argues that the only way to reduce health care costs in Alaska is for insurers such as Premera to bring them into the network and control how much they will pay. He emphasizes the distinction between price and cost, with insurers focusing on the price they pay and healthcare providers concerned with the cost of providing care.
Grazko compares Premera Alaska’s healthcare costs to those in Washington but did not provide information on what other commercial insurers are currently paying. He also mentioned Medicaid and Medicare but failed to offer specific comparisons to commercial insurance products.
Grazko’s point is that it would be challenging for Premera to compare the amounts paid for healthcare across multiple payers as Alaska lacks the structure to collect or analyze this data. He suggests an all-payer claims database, like those in other states, would help better understand who is paying for what.
On the other hand, Sandra Heffern argues that the repeal of the 80th percentile rule will not be a “easy button” to reducing Alaska’s high health care costs. She emphasizes that health care pricing and costs are complicated, and providers strive to provide high-quality care for Alaska patients.
Heffern invites others to share their thoughts by submitting email@example.com or via web browser. Writers should disclose any personal or professional connections with the subjects of their letters, and letters are edited for accuracy, clarity, and length.