The Business Council of New York State opposes S.7615 (Hannon) / A.10678 (Canestrari) which would create a demonstration program permitting health care providers, including physicians to collectively bargain with health plans in eleven upstate counties. The bill would allow unrelated physicians to join together for no other purpose than to increase their revenues under a new exemption to New York antitrust laws.
Given the current uncertainties in the future of health-care delivery nationally and in New York, now is not the time to introduce State and region specific authorization to permit health care providers to organize to fix costs. This bill will allow physicians in eleven upstate counties to unilaterally set prices at any level they decide, giving health plans no bargaining position and dramatically increasing the cost of health care for businesses and employees in the region and State.
This bill, like S.3186-A (Hannon) /A.2474-A (Canestrari), is unnecessary in light of existing New York and Federal laws. Antitrust laws currently allow for joint activities among health care providers when those activities are pro-competition and likely to benefit the consumer. This bill would only serve the financial interests of health care providers.
The cost for employer-sponsored coverage continues to rise and policy makers continue to avoid the very serious conversation on how to “bend the cost curve” for a health care system that nationally consumes 16% of GDP. Allowing health care providers to organize for the purpose of collectively bargaining with health plans distracts from addressing the issues driving health care costs and utilization and will provide yet another way for the providers to shift costs to the employers and employees who are already struggling to maintain health coverage.
For these reasons, The Business Council respectfully opposes S.7615 (Hannon) / A.10678 (Canestrari).