Last Week in Healthcare Reform: 10 October 2022

Item of the Week

If it feels like there’s been a lot of coverage lately of the role that hospitals and providers play in driving up healthcare costs, you’re not wrong.  Given how much of the healthcare dollar actually gets spent on these health systems, it’s hardly surprising that the healthcare cost conversation would zero in on them.

Unfortunately, more and more that coverage seems to be focused on how these entities increasingly prioritize their profits over their patients.  Recently, a pair of investigative reports published by The New York Times exposed two such systems for doing just that.

The first article featured Bon Secours Mercy Health, which was found to be exploiting a federal program aimed at helping low-income patients in order to expand its operations into wealthier neighborhoods in Richmond, Virginia.

The other article uncovered how Providence, one of the largest nonprofit health systems in the country, operationalized a business strategy in Washington state that pressured patients into paying their medical bills – despite many being eligible for financial assistance.

While the unsustainable trajectory of out-of-control drug prices gets a lot of attention, these articles serve as important reminders that rising healthcare costs are not only pervasive, but have multiple drivers.

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