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THE HILL – American hospitals are reportedly looking to increase their prices by up to 15 percent, in line with historical trends that have seen them raise rates by roughly double the prevailing inflation rate.
Hospital prices are already outrageous, regularly throwing patients into bankruptcy and financial ruin.
Significantly increasing hospitals’ prices and negotiated rates will further burden healthcare consumers — including patients, employers, and unions — contending with broader economic instability.
Higher hospital prices also punish workers who experience higher healthcare premiums. They suppress and even lower real wages as employers are forced to pass along these increased coverage costs.
“Some hospitals claim “transparency” demonstrates that pricing is competitive. This rhetoric doesn’t reflect reality.” – Cynthia Fisher
Karen van Caulil, CEO of an employer healthcare coalition in Florida, told the Wall Street Journal:
“Most of the employers have been unable to increase the wages of their workers for years primarily because of the increasing cost of healthcare.”
This wage suppression comes at the worst possible time as inflation devalues workers’ paychecks.
Hospitals are justifying their higher prices by pointing to higher salaries for nurses. But this math doesn’t add up. Hospitals charge on average seven times their cost of care.
Leaked hospital pricing data published in the Los Angeles Times revealed that area hospitals automatically applied a 675 percent markup to their expenses.
Nurses’ salaries only make up around 25 percent to 30 percent of hospitals’ costs. And their base pay increased by 9 percent over the last year.
Even if the nurses’ compensation is (deservedly) rising in line with broader inflation, that’s no justification to significantly raise hospital prices. Hospitals are using nurses as a Trojan horse to further gouge American healthcare consumers and increase their already outrageous hidden markups.
Some hospitals claim “transparency” demonstrates that pricing is competitive. This rhetoric doesn’t reflect reality, as shown in a recent study by PatientRightsAdvocate.org which looked at how hospitals nationwide are complying with a federal hospital price transparency rule … READ MORE.