Bill Aims To Control Health Costs With New Rules On Large Hospital Systems
State Sen. Bill Monning's measure would ban certain contracting practices between large health systems and insurers that some patient advocates say lead to higher costs for consumers.
The Mercury News:
California Bill Would Reduce Anti-Competitive Practices By Largest Hospital Chains
A Bay Area legislator is trying to level the playing field among hospital chains, particularly in Northern California, where he said studies show consolidations have led to some of the highest healthcare prices for consumers and employers in the state. Sen. Bill Monning, D-Carmel, on Tuesday will introduce Senate Bill 538 that he said seeks “fairness, access and affordable healthcare” on behalf of patients. The legislation would, among other things, stop certain anti-competitive practices, such as gag clauses in health plan contracts, which prevent employer groups from sharing pricing data that could encourage more cost-effective care for employees. Monning points to a 2016 study by University of Southern California healthcare economist Glenn Melnick and co-author Katya Fonkych that showed how costs grew at a faster rate at the state’s two largest hospital chains. (Seipel, 3/28)
San Francisco Chronicle:
Bill Aims To Address High Health Care Costs
The bill does not single out any providers by name. But Sutter Health, one of the biggest health systems in the Bay Area, recently asked companies, through their insurance administrators, to waive their right to sue Sutter in court or risk having to pay higher out-of-network prices for Sutter services. Sutter has maintained that arbitration — a standard part of its contracts — is the most cost-effective way to resolve disputes between providers and employers. “The motive behind this legislation is to continue to protect the rights of patients in terms of affordability and access in an ever-changing marketplace,” Monning said. (Ho, 3/28)