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Posted inHealth

Yeah, CT health care costs are high, but which ones are highest?

The amount paid for a cesarean childbirth and newborn care in the hospital, for example, averaged $20,107 in Connecticut – 26 percent above the national average of $15,917, according to data based on claims paid by three private insurance companies. But costs also ranged within the state, averaging $20,773 in the Bridgeport area, $19,715 in the Hartford region, and $18,915 in and around New Haven.

Posted inHealth, Money, Politics

Hospitals say state puts them between a rock and a hard place

As hospital officials describe it, state policy is pushing them in two opposing directions. Higher state taxes and funding cuts have added to the factors pushing independent community hospitals to join larger health systems, they say. But at the same time, legislators concerned about the growth of large health systems have been pushing for new restrictions on changes in hospital ownership, which hospital officials say makes it harder for them to adapt.

Posted inHealth, Politics

Change to hospital regulation again looms – but direction unclear

As hospitals join larger systems and critics worry about access to care, a key legislator said the time is ripe for lawmakers to revisit the way the state regulates major changes in health care. But it’s not yet clear what shape such changes will take – or whether they would leave the state with more regulation or less, a sign of sharply differing views on its role.

Posted inHealth

Expert: Transparency, savvy patients, competition key in tackling health care prices

Zack Cooper recently co-authored a high-profile paper linking higher hospital prices to market power. He advocates for strong antitrust enforcement when it comes to health care consolidation. But when his father was very sick, Cooper told state policymakers, he wanted him to go to a large medical center that treated a high volume of patients with the same condition. “There’s this tension,” he said.

Posted inHealth

In shoreline cancer treatment dispute, questions about hospital competition

What began with a plan to replace an aging piece of medical equipment has turned into a dispute over the delivery of cancer care along Connecticut’s affluent shoreline. And at a time when policymakers have expressed worries about preserving competition in the state’s fast-consolidating health care market, one side has suggested the case highlights questions about competition – and the way state regulation can limit it.

Posted inHealth

How well will new rules on health care cost transparency work?

Lisa Freeman recently tried an experiment: Before having a medical diagnostic test, she tried to figure out what it would cost. “It took no less than five phone calls, and I still never got to the end of the thing,” she said. A major transparency law intended to change that is taking effect this year. How will it work in practice? Health care providers say it might be bumpy at first.