House Subcommittee Considers Obamacare's Impact on Competition

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media , September 20, 2013

"However, despite these activities hospitals' price growth is at a historic low and is not the main driver of higher health insurance premiums," Pozen said.

"The growth in health insurance premiums from 2010-2011 was more than double that of the underlying health costs, including the costs of hospital services. The antitrust authorities should continue to pay as much attention to the health insurance industry as it does to the hospital field and there is no question that the health insurance industry is highly concentrated and is now acquiring hospitals and providers in an effort to replicate the continuum that hospitals are now providing."

AHIP lobbyist Joseph Miller cited several studies showing that hospital consolidations mean higher costs for consumers. He called on the federal government to continue to review hospital mergers that have the potential to harm consumers by consolidating market power and diminishing competition.

"Through the ACA implementation process, AHIP has emphasized that affordability must be a central goal in health reform and that addressing provider market issues is an important part of achieving this goal," Miller said. "Promoting competition and halting harmful consolidation in provider markets are critically important steps toward increasing affordability."

The back-and-forth between the representatives of AHIP and AHA prompted another panelist, Duke University Law professor Barak D. Richman, to note that "both providers and insurers alike seek to exploit different loopholes in the reimbursement system."

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2 comments on "House Subcommittee Considers Obamacare's Impact on Competition"

Donald Stumpp (9/20/2013 at 12:22 PM)
One more thing To Healthleaders: Is there any way you could stop using the term "Obamacare"? The lay press of course does, but I bet as a healthcare news source, your readers will know what you mean if the title was instead: House Subcommittee Considers ACA's Impact on Competition. The title of the Act which is not Obamacare.

Donald Stumpp (9/20/2013 at 11:38 AM)
I agree with Barak Richman rather than AHA or AHIP. I wonder if anyone made mention that health care costs are also more affected by volume rather than specific unit costs? The most cost effective medical procedure or hospital stay is the one that didnt need to happen because of early intervention or better population health. Check obesity rates of the past two decades. That's what has driven healthcare costs (among other things)




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