LIBRE Praises Overwhelming Bipartisan Passage of Lower Costs, More Transparency Act
Arlington, VA – Yesterday, the House of Representatives voted and approved H.R. 5378, the bipartisan Lower Costs, More Transparency Act.
Jose Mallea, CEO of The LIBRE Initiative, released the following statement:
“We applaud members of Congress for coming together to help drive lower costs with fewer surprise bills for patients while helping provide more options for people and their families. The current setup has created an unfair advantage for large, hospital chains over independent doctors and created an unhealthy incentive for large hospitals to merge with outpatient providers to receive higher reimbursements from Medicare – a cost carried by patients and taxpayers. This legislation is an important step toward Medicare reimbursements that are fairer and more affordable for patients.”
Under current law, Medicare pays significantly higher reimbursements to hospital-owned facilities – as much as 217% more – than independent physician practices and other outpatient facilities for the exact same services, including chemotherapy, cardiac imaging, and colonoscopies. This creates a financial incentive for large hospital chains to merge with outpatient facilities, resulting in higher reimbursements from Medicare, but at the expense of patients and taxpayers.
The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget estimates that implementing “site-neutral payments,” or laws that ensure all hospital-owned facilities are reimbursed at the same level as independent doctors, would save taxpayers over $117 billion in ten years and reduce premiums and cost-sharing for Medicare beneficiaries by $94 billion.