Banks Introduces Legislation to Increase Hospital Competition, Lower Health Care Costs

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Fort Wayne, October 29, 2018 | comments

Congressman Jim Banks (IN-03) today issued the following statement after introducing the Hospital Competition Act of 2018 (H.R. 7084), legislation that aims to combat the rising cost of health care by increasing choice among hospital providers:

“Health care costs are spiraling out of control and American families are paying the price through higher rates for hospital services and higher insurance premiums. The consolidation of hospital markets through mergers is one of the biggest drivers of health care costs, with hospitals charging as much as 44 percent more for the same services in consolidated regions. With costs soaring and uncertainty continuing to loom over the future of Obamacare, my proposal would aggressively combat the rising cost of health care. This bill should be the starting point in the conversation about how we can help lower health care costs for families in Indiana and across the country.” 

The Banks legislation would:

•  Authorize a 400 percent increase in Federal Trade Commission staff that would be solely dedicated to ensuring that hospital mergers do not increase costs for patients;

•  Reduce the incentive for mergers by requiring hospitals operating in concentrated regions to accept Medicare reimbursement rates from commercial payers;

•   Provide grants to states that take specific actions to improve hospital competition;

•   Allow these grants to be used for infrastructure improvements to state hospitals and/or as supplemental funding for state/local hospital programs;

•   Reduce the cost of outpatient care by reimbursing hospital outpatient departments at the same rate as independent physician services;

•   Repeal incentives to form Accountable Care Organizations that encourage consolidation among providers;

•   Convene an advisory panel to make recommendations on reducing hospital administrative requirements; and

•   Require hospitals to publish the cost of their 100 most common services.

Full legislative text can be found here.


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