Better Solutions for Healthcare

AXIOS: Hospitals are back in the hot seat for their prices

By Adriel Bettelheim

March 18th, 2022

Forces in New York City, California and elsewhere are leading a new push to rein in hospital prices, reviving a health cost fight that’s been on hold for most of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Why it matters: Hospital prices vary considerably even in the same market, and rising prices for care are reflected in higher insurance premiums and lost wages.

Driving the news: A union health fund representing service workers in 11 states and Washington, D.C., is calling on New York State lawmakers for help and weighing whether to team up with other labor groups to gain leverage in negotiations with hospitals.

  • The effort drew praise Thursday from New York City Mayor Eric Adams.
  • Colorado employers have already banded together to directly negotiate with local hospitals and insurance companies, according to Bloomberg News.
  • California Gov. Gavin Newsom has called for creating an Office of Health Care Affordability to set limits on hospital, physician and insurer costs — and fine those that don’t comply.
  • Legislators in half of the states have debated transparency bills that, among other things, would force hospitals to disclose prices or in some cases cap cost increases, per the National Academy for State Health Policy.