WASHINGTON – Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) Senior Vice President of Policy and Advocacy David Merritt issued the following statement building off BCBSA’s Affordability Solutions for the Health of America ahead of the Senate Committee on Finance hearing on health care consolidation.
"Everyone deserves access to high-quality, affordable health care. Unfortunately, the growing trend of big hospitals acquiring independent physician practices is making health care less affordable for too many Americans. When corporate hospital systems acquire physician practices, the prices they charge grow by an average of 14%. This is because they bill hospital outpatient rates for the same services that were previously billed at the rate for a physician office—rates that are two to three times higher. Those higher rates hit patients with higher premiums and higher costs, because as the underlying prices of health care go up, so, too, does the cost to consumers.
“No patient should pay more for a service delivered at the doctor’s office simply because it’s now owned by a hospital. We commend the Senate Finance Committee for holding this important hearing. Additionally, we support bipartisan initiatives like the Site-based Invoicing and Transparency Enhancement Act introduced by Sens. Maggie Hassan and Mike Braun as well as Reps. Kevin Hern and Annie Kuster’s Facilitating Accountability in Reimbursements Act, which promote site-neutral payments and fair and transparent billing practices, respectively, to deliver more affordable choices for patients.”