Sarah Lueck Recommends Increased Transparency of Consolidation

Sarah Lueck, senior policy analyst from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, recommends increased transparency of healthcare consolidation, and more research on its impacts, particularly regarding benefits for consumers.

Sarah Lueck, senior policy analyst from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, recommends increased transparency of healthcare consolidation, and more research on its impacts, particularly regarding benefits for consumers.

Transcript (modified)

How can healthcare consolidation be done right to ensure it is lowering costs while improving quality?

When we’re thinking about the health insurance mergers that were recently announced, we need to think about whether consolidation is good for consumers at all. I think that’s the first question. Clearly, there are a lot of issues raised about consolidation that could be potential concerns for consumers, from higher premiums for their insurance to narrower networks or increased cost-sharing, and then our less competitive marketplace, now and in the future, could be really problematic for consumers.

So I think it’s worth taking a closer look at the impact on consumers and deciding whether it’s even a good idea. Looking forward I think doing more research and having more transparency in terms of the data that’s available on the impact of any consolidation that happens within the healthcare industry would be really helpful.

So to the extent that a plan or a hospital or other providers are saying that a merger or an acquisition is going to help improve things for consumers, we need to see whether that’s true, and the way you can structure those types of arrangements to make sure that the benefits accrue the consumer.