Today, Congressman Jim Banks (R-IN) introduced the Hospital Competition Act of 2019. This bill aims to freeze the practice of hospital consolidation in which large companies buy smaller hospitals and then raise their prices for higher profit.
Said Rep. Banks, “Americans are justifiably concerned about the staggering cost of health care. While northeast Indiana is blessed to have a competitive hospital system with high-quality care, many parts of the country are not so fortunate. We must take every opportunity available to us to lower health care costs for all Americans. My bill would do just that through common-sense reforms that introduce greater market competition in the hospital sector.”
In 2017, Americans spent more than $1 trillion on hospital services. That number is expected to approach $2 trillion by 2026. The Hospital Competition Act would reduce these costs by:
Authorizing a 400 percent increase in Federal Trade Commission (FTC) staff dedicated to ensuring that hospital mergers do not restrict competition and raise prices;
Reducing the incentive for future consolidation by requiring hospitals in highly concentrated regions to accept Medicare reimbursement rates from commercial payers as a condition for participation in the Medicare program,
This provision would not apply to hospitals with less than 15% market share;
Repealing the ban on construction of new physician owned hospitals;
Providing grants to states that implement free market reforms to increase hospital competition;
Reducing cost of outpatient care by equalizing reimbursement rates for hospital outpatient departments and independent physician practices;
Removing incentives to form Accountable Care Organizations that contribute to consolidated care; and,
Requiring hospitals to publish the cost of their most 100 common services.