Even More Bills to Increase Healthcare Costs: When Will They End?
With under a month left in the 2013 legislative session lawmakers are still considering proposals that increase the costs and reduce access to healthcare.
A recently drafted amendment to HB 6612 modifies the payments process to out-of-network doctors in a way that will weaken physician networks at a time when having robust networks are a widely-held priority under federal healthcare legislation.
Typically, insurers are able entice physicians to join a network by having more efficient payment procedures. At the same time, insurers help keep costs in check by negotiating rates with their in-network physicians.
This amendment, however, would give doctors less of an incentive to join a network which will not only weaken networks but also bypass those cost-checks and instead lead to cost increases.
Similarly, HB 6431 adds to the problem of rising healthcare costs by exempting cooperative healthcare arrangements from state antitrust law that protects consumers against certain entities forming monopolies and wielding too much power over price.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) opposed a very similar bill raised last year, saying the legislation would lead to higher costs and decreased access in Connecticut.
By exempting physicians from state anti-trust law, HB 6431 puts the interests of physicians above patients. Interestingly, Connecticut’s attorney general advised legislators that even if the state exemption were to be adopted, federal antitrust law would still apply.
Reducing the price of health insurance will increase access, yet the legislature is still considering measures to increase the cost of healthcare. When will it end?
With 2014 on the horizon increased costs is a reality just around the corner. The legislature must take steps now to change the dialogue and focus on increased access. Otherwise, fewer employers and employees will be able to afford health insurance.
CBIA urges lawmakers to reject such cost-raising proposals.
For more information, contact CBIA’s Jennifer Herz at 860.244.1921 or email@example.com.
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