Bill Targets Hospital ‘Gag Clauses’ Designed To Keep People From Opting For Less Expensive Treatment
The legislation from Sens. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) and Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) is part of a larger congressional push to chip away at practices that increase health care costs across the industry. Meanwhile, KHN offers a look at what Congress may be doing about surprise medical bills over the next few months.
Senators Tackle Hospital 'Gag' Clauses
Two senators want to stop hospitals from steering patients into costlier treatments through their insurance plans, as congressional lawmakers continue on their push to end industry gaming of the healthcare system. A bill introduced late Tuesday by Sens. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) and Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) would ban health systems from using their insurer contracts to keep people from opting for less expensive treatment from a competitor. Currently, dominant hospitals can leverage their market power with insurance companies to insert so-called "gag clauses" in their contracts. (Luthi, 5/22)
Kaiser Health News:
Are Surprises Ahead For Legislation To Curb Surprise Medical Bills?
Surprise medical bills — those unexpected and often pricey bills patients face when they get care from a doctor or hospital that isn’t in their insurance network — are the health care problem du jour in Washington, with congressional lawmakers from both sides of the aisle and the White House calling for action. These policymakers agree on the need to take patients out of the middle of the fight over charges, but crafting a legislative solution will not be easy. (Bluth, 5/22)
And in other news on health care costs —
Report: Retail Clinics Have What Patients, Healthcare Execs Want
Early next year, shoppers visiting a Boston area mall to browse the racks at Express or grab lunch at Red Robin could pop in for an oncology visit just down the way. Dana-Farber Cancer Institute plans to lease about 34,000 square feet of space at Patriot Place, a shopping and entertainment center in Foxborough, Mass., where it will offer both cancer treatment and hematology services. (Bannow, 5/22)