NEW YORK (PIX11) — A new proposal going before the City Council on Thursday could boost hospital transparency while also saving New York a serious chunk of change on health care costs, according to proponents.
Hospitals are already federally-mandated to have price transparency, but some city lawmakers say that enhancing clarity even further could better help New Yorkers understand what they’re paying for — while also reducing the burden for taxpayers.
On Thursday, the Healthcare Accountability & Consumer Protection Act will be introduced in the City Council in an attempt to increase transparency and save funds. The bill would create a new city office dedicated to enforcing hospital transparency so patients would know what they’re paying ahead of time, allowing them to potentially seek care at another hospital with better prices.
In 2023, New York City is anticipated to spend approximately $11 billion on health care for municipal workers, Councilmembers Julie Menin and Carmen De La Rosa wrote in a recent opinion piece for the New York Daily News in support of the proposal. The piece cited a 2019 analysis that found greater medical cost transparency in New Hampshire resulted in a 5% reduction in costs to patients over a five-year period.
A 5% savings on the city’s estimated $11 billion health care tab would correlate to an annual $550 million that could be redirected to other needs, like affordable housing or education, Menin and De La Rosa wrote.
Separately, a study released last year by the 32BJ Health Fund — a collaboration between the SEIU 32BJ labor union and the Realty Advisory Board in New York — posited even greater potential savings. That study found that if “New York City’s cost, utilization, and expenditure breakdown mirror statewide averages, then the city is paying $2.037 billion above what Medicare would pay for the same services for New York City active and retired employees’ healthcare.”
In conjunction with the bill’s introduction, a rally will be held outside City Hall on Thursday in support of the measure.