CO hospitals object to transparency proposal

The Colorado Legislature is lurching slowly toward requiring transparency on medical bills, but the state's hospital industry is pushing back on the issue, the Denver Post and Colorado Public Radio report.

The state Senate last week held a hearing on a bill sponsored by Sen. Irene Aguilar, a Democrat, that would offer more protections for consumers by allowing anyone with income up to four times the federal poverty level to receive their care at the hospital's cost. She called the proposal an opportunity to allow patients "the dignity to pay their bills without going bankrupt" and noted that some hospitals charge as much as eight times their costs.

However, hospital officials objected to the proposal, claiming it would ruin the finances of rural facilities, and that the complexity of healthcare delivery would make that difficult. "I can't say enough how complicated this is," said Cole White, a chief financial officer for Middle Park Medical Center. White suggested that patients who lack insurance often ignore their bills--a remark that other lawmakers objected to.

Although the bill is mostly objected to by Republicans, they do appear to support provisions that would require hospitals to post their prices.

To learn more:
- read the Denver Post article
- see the Colorado Public Radio article