California sues hospital network over high health costs: The Hill

Filed Under: Costs, Health plans, Patients

“California on Friday sued one of the largest hospitals in the state for ‘anticompetitive practices’ that increase health care costs,” Jessie Hellmann writes at The Hill.  “California Attorney General Xavier Becerra (D) alleges Sutter Health has used its power to exclude competition and increase prices for patients substantially.  ‘Sutter Health is throwing its weight around in the healthcare market, engaging in illegal, anticompetitive pricing that hurts California families,’ Becerra said in a statement. ‘These tactics are risking Californians’ lives by driving up the cost of healthcare for everyone.’ Becerra alleges that Sutter Health sets excessively high out-of-network rates for patients who must get care outside of their provider network; restricts publication of provider cost information and rates; and requires insurance companies negotiate with the entire system or face termination of contracts.  Becerra alleges Sutter Health used its excess profits from illegal pricing practices for ‘waves of acquisitions,’ extreme levels of executive compensation and for financing its own insurance arm. …Becerra pointed to a recent report that showed market consolidation has caused prices to be as much as 30 percent higher in Northern California, where Sutter Health operates, than in Southern California.” Jessie Hellmann, California sues hospital network over high health costs,” The Hill.