Will Sutter Health Settlement Dampen Provider Systems’ Anti-Competitive Tactics or Prompt More States to Take Action on Costs?

On October 16, Sutter Health announced that it had reached a tentative agreement to settle the class-action lawsuit against it, which alleged that the system has used its market dominance to drive up the cost of care. Though Sutter Health denied all allegations, the plaintiffs argued that the system relies on three core tactics to maintain a competitive edge, including: all-or-nothing contracting, anti-incentive contract terms, and price secrecy contract terms. CHIR’s Emily Curran and Sabrina Corlette explain these tactics and recent findings on the impacts of provider consolidation. Continue reading

New Georgetown CHIR Report Finds Ability of Insurers, Employers to Respond to Provider Consolidation is Limited

A new Georgetown CHIR report synthesizing the case studies of 6 health care markets finds that insurers and employer-purchasers have limited tools and incentives to effectively counter the market clout of increasingly consolidated provider systems. With a lack of market-based solutions, the report raises questions about whether and what policy interventions might be needed. Continue reading

Complacency Slows Aggressive Approaches to Health Care Cost Containment: A View from Three Markets

Consolidation among hospitals and physician practices is driving a steady rise in health care costs. Employers who purchase insurance and the payers that negotiate on their behalf have a limited set of tools available to counter providers’ demands, but they have also displayed a complacency that has allowed prices to rise with little resistance. In a post for the Health Affairs blog, Sabrina Corlette, Jack Hoadley, and Katie Keith share findings from a series of market-level case studies on responses to provider consolidation. Continue reading