Home > posts > Economists’ Fear: ObamaCare Consolidates Health Care, Raises Price
January 29th, 2014 3:09 pm
Economists’ Fear: ObamaCare Consolidates Health Care, Raises Price

“Health economists worry that mergers could end up increasing what you pay. Hospital systems can often negotiate higher rates with insurers for the same care,” says a report at CNN Money.

The mergers in question are the result of an incentive structure within Obamacare that gives financial rewards to doctors and hospitals that create “Accountable Care Organizations” (ACOs) that, according to the report, “coordinate treatments with the goal of delivering quality care for less.”

In order to increase their eligibility for ACO benefits, hospitals across the country are scooping up individual and small group medical practices. The reason this may be bad for patients is that mergers allow hospitals to increase their market share, giving them greater leverage to negotiate higher rates with insurance companies. Cigna, a health insurance company, has seen bills for routine procedures spike 300 percent to 500 percent after a hospital acquires a practice.

Of course, those increased costs are passed on to patients, many of whom may not realize it until they get hit with a new “facility fee” that tacks on $75 to $150 for a routine visit.

One would think that a program designed to deliver “quality care for less” would pass on the savings to the patient. Instead, it looks like patients will pay more while the federal government rewards hospitals for cornering the market.

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