Connecticut, Oregon lawmakers work on bills to cut hospital costs

Lawmakers in Connecticut and Oregon, concerned with the continuing rise of healthcare costs, propose bills to make the cost of delivering care more transparent.

Connecticut lawmakers are particularly concerned about what they see as a consolidation of healthcare providers throughout the state, the New Haven Register reported. They have suggested several bills to address the issue, including ones that would minimum standards for the formation of accountable care organizations and another that would more closely regulate deals between hospitals, as well as hospitals and medical groups.

A special legislative committee discovered that the share of medical spending attributed to hospital-owned physician practices increased by 57 percent between 2007 and 2013, the New Haven Register reported.

Those bills are on top of another piece of legislation that would aim to cap hospital facility fees to $100. In some instances, lawmakers have discovered, some patients were charged as much as $9,500 in facility fees while undergoing cancer treatments.

In Oregon, the state's leading hospital lobby has sponsored several bills that would make the state the second in the country to post a wide array of prices for procedures performed at acute care facilities, KTVZ-TV reported. It would include a state-run website that would post the prices insurers pay for care.

South Carolina is one of the few states in the U.S. that has wide-ranging price transparency among its hospitals. It launched a statewide site posting price data for 60 hospitals last year.

"Our transparency initiative aims to assist Oregonians in understanding hospital prices in advance of procedures," Andy Davidson, chief executive officer of the Oregon Association of Hospitals and Health Systems, told KTVZ-TV. "We want to make sure that hospitals' pricing data is accessible and easy to find. We know that our patients want more healthcare pricing information and with this initiative, Oregonians will be able to find the data on hospital prices that will help their decision-making."

To learn more:
- read the New Haven Register article 
- check out the KTVZ-TV article