$1,000 Hepatitis C drug in spotlight at healthcare hearing

A $1,000-drug used to treat Hepatitis C was a hot-button topic at a California Senate committee hearing Wednesday.

"We are really concerned about the high cost of specialty drugs, which have just continued to increase year after year and are going to end up taking 50 percent of the budget of all of the pharmaceutical costs," Pharmacy and Adult and Family Medicine Executive Director at Kaiser Permanente Dr. Sameer Awsare said.

But drug prices were just one part of the bigger problem of rising healthcare costs. Speakers said that physician fees and hospital facility fees are also a major factor. The growing bill means that consumers, including people with employer-sponsored insurance, are being asked to shoulder more costs out of pocket. In fact, the Health Care Costs Institute released a new report this week finding that people with insurance through work paid 15 percent of their medical expenses out of pocket in 2013, up 6.9 percent year-over-year.


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