Hospitals Try to Avoid Price Transparency by Advancing Phony Bill

The Oregon Association of Hospitals and Health Systems appeared to outmaneuver the efforts of Sen. Elizabeth Steiner Hayward, SEIU and consumer advocates to demand the right to know what patients are being charged by getting the ranking members of the Senate Health Committee to sign onto a competing measure that does not disclose individual hospital information and provides only outdated average statewide data from the all-payer, all-claims database.

by Chris Gray, for The Lund Report
March 27, 2015

The Oregon Association of Hospitals and Health Systems is moving aggressively to stamp out legislation that would force its members to be transparent about their prices, and the association has introduced a transparency bill that provides them with political cover while doing little to help consumers and nothing to foster competition.

The legislation from the hospitals, Senate Bill 900, calls upon the Oregon Health Authority to use the all-payer, all-claims database to list the median prices at hospitals and hospital clinics for the 50 most common inpatient procedures and 100 most common outpatient procedures.

SB 900 would not give the public any information about individual hospitals that gouge consumers, and the legislation shields those high-cost hospitals from competition that such information would generate. The information from the All-Payer, All-Claims Database would also be outdated as soon as it was published, since it would rely on claims data that had been submitted months and years earlier.

Consumers would have no better answer than now as to what their actual costs might be from any given hospital, since such charges deviate so wildly from the median.