COLLECTIVE BARGAINING: Bill Would Raise Costs by 8.6%
Legislation giving physicians the right to bargain collectively with HMOs could spark an 8.6% rise in health care costs by 2003, according to a new study commissioned by the American Association of Health Plans. A previous Congressional Budget Office analysis of the measure predicted a 1.5% increase. The AAHP study, conducted by LECG/Navigant Consulting Inc. and the University of California, found that overall costs would jump by about $141 billion, and government expenses would increase by $13 billion. By comparison, the CBO report estimated a $29 billion increase in total costs and an increase in government spending of only $1.8 billion. In addition, the AAHP analysis said the number of uninsured could grow by up to three million in 2003 if the legislation is approved. Sponsored by Reps. Tom Campbell (R-Calif.) and John Conyers (D-Mich.), the bill could reach the House floor for a full vote as early as Thursday, CongressDaily/A.M. reports. Health plans argue that the measure would give doctors too much power and would eliminate cost-saving provisions implemented in recent years. AAHP President Karen Ignagni warned, "Any member that votes for this bill will be asked to step up and explain why." Supporters of the bill also must contend with "strong opposition" from the White House and many Republicans (Fulton, 6/27).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.