Grassley Wants FTC To Suss Out Whether Contracts Between Insurers And Hospital Systems Are Pushing Up Costs
The request from Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) comes in response to a Wall Street Journal article that detailed hidden financial arrangements between hospital systems and insurers that included limitations on coverage offered by the plans to their enrollees, which in turn would save the hospitals money.
The Wall Street Journal:
Sen. Chuck Grassley Asks FTC To Probe Hospital Contracts
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley asked the Federal Trade Commission to investigate whether contracts between insurers and hospital systems are limiting competition and pushing up health-care costs. The letter, sent Wednesday by the Iowa Republican, cited a recent article in The Wall Street Journal that documented secret contract terms that some hospital systems use to protect their business and block efforts to curb costs. Those provisions can require health plans include costly hospital systems and prohibit steering patients toward less-expensive rivals. The contracts can also add extra fees and prevent exclusion of doctors and hospitals based on quality or cost. (Wilde Mathews, 10/10)
Grassley Asks FTC To Review Hospitals' Contracts With Health Plans
Citing a September report from the Wall Street Journal, Grassley urged FTC Chair Joseph Simons to give the agency's perspective on whether secretive inter-industry ties are exacerbating rising healthcare costs. In 2016, healthcare accounted for nearly one-fifth of the U.S. gross domestic product, or about $3.3 trillion. "Spending is projected to grow at an average rate of 5.5% per year and reach $5.7 trillion by 2026," Grassley wrote. "The last thing American patients and consumers need at this time is a healthcare system that permits or encourages anti-competitive agreements that hinder access to lower cost care." (Luthi,10/10)