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Hospitals, insurers cast blame amid high health care costs debate

IU Health says lawmakers are partly to blame for high health care costs, noting that Indiana ranks 47 out of 50 states for public health spending.
Lauren Chapman
/
IPB News
IU Health says lawmakers are partly to blame for high health care costs, noting that Indiana ranks 47 out of 50 states for public health spending.

Indiana’s legislative leaders sent a letter to the state’s health care providers and insurers a few months ago. In it, they told them to act now to reduce health care costs or lawmakers will take steps to do so next year.

IU Health, the largest health care system in the state, made its reply public. In its letter to legislative leaders, it defended its existing plans to address high health care costs. That includes moving a goal to reach national average prices to January 2025 (up from December 2025).

IU Health also laid some blame at the feet of lawmakers. It said Indiana’s poor citizen health is a contributing factor to high costs and notes, in its letter, that Indiana ranks 47 out of 50 in the country for public health spending.

But the head of the Insurance Institute of Indiana said its large hospitals that are to blame.

“Stop raking in record profits year after year … stop shifting funds around to mask the bottom line,” said Marty Wood, representing Hoosier insurance companies in a recent op-ed.

It’s likely that debate will continue into next session.

Contact reporter Brandon at bsmith@ipbs.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

Brandon Smith is excited to be working for public radio in Indiana. He has previously worked in public radio as a reporter and anchor in mid-Missouri for KBIA Radio out of Columbia. Prior to that, he worked for WSPY Radio in Plano, Illinois as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. His first job in radio was in another state capitol, in Jefferson City, Missouri, as a reporter for three radio stations around Missouri. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.