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THE URBAN INSTITUTE The Future of Health Care: Competition v Consolidation Robert A. Berenson, M.D., F.A.C.P. Institute Fellow, The Urban Institute MAHP.

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Presentation on theme: "THE URBAN INSTITUTE The Future of Health Care: Competition v Consolidation Robert A. Berenson, M.D., F.A.C.P. Institute Fellow, The Urban Institute MAHP."— Presentation transcript:

1 THE URBAN INSTITUTE The Future of Health Care: Competition v Consolidation Robert A. Berenson, M.D., F.A.C.P. Institute Fellow, The Urban Institute MAHP Decision November 2012 Boston

2 THE URBAN INSTITUTE Prices Are Now the Main Driver of Health Care Costs Increases The Health Care Cost Institute recently published results for 2010 spending (A new, national data base provided currently by Aetna, Humana, Kaiser Permanente, and United) Overall, per capita spending up 3.3%, with utilization -5%; the increase was due to price increases – inpatient 5.1%, ER 11%, professional services 2.6%

3 THE URBAN INSTITUTE There is Evidence of Recent Moderation in Hospital Price Growth Altarum Institute Price Brief for Sept. ’12 – ∙ Health care price inflation in Sept. at 1.9% year-over-year, was at lowest level since June of 1998 ∙ Y-o-y hospital prices decelerated to 2.4% in September (includes M & M) ∙ Other than M & M, hospital prices at 3.3% year-over-year

4 THE URBAN INSTITUTE Trends in Payment to Cost Ratios Aggregate hospital payment-to-cost ratios for private payers has increased from about 115% in 2000 to about 135% in Avalere analysis of AHA Annual Survey Data, 2010, for community hospitals, AHA Trendwatch Chartbook, 2012

5 THE URBAN INSTITUTE The Community Tracking Study Conducted since 1996 by the Center for Studying Health System Change. Reporting on Round 7 findings. Based on dozens of in-depth interviews in each market using a structured interview protocol Combination of ongoing “tracking” and round- specific and site-specific questions Contracting leverage has been one of the ongoing issues of interest in the CTS

6 THE URBAN INSTITUTE CTS Sites Boston Cleveland Greenville, SC Indianapolis Lansing, MI Little Rock Miami Northern New Jersey Orange County, CA Phoenix Seattle Syracuse

7 THE URBAN INSTITUTE “The Growing Power Of Some Providers To Win Steep Payment Increases From Insurers Suggests Policy Remedies May Be Needed” -- Berenson, Ginsburg, Christianson, and Yee, Health Affairs, May ‘12

8 THE URBAN INSTITUTE Leverage Factors Unrelated to Concentration/Consolidation While concentration is the main story, other factors contribute to growing provider market power over prices and “terms and conditions” Employer rejection of narrow networks No longer oversupply of beds and docs, with some exceptions (some Miami docs at 70% of Medicare) Reputation Geography Provision of particular clinical services Regulations (in a couple of places)

9 THE URBAN INSTITUTE Market Variations in Hospital Leverage Overall recent trend favoring hospitals (in commercial products, not Medicare Advantage, which pay near Medicare rates, rather than contracted commercial rates) “Must have” hospitals with clout have long existed in some markets – Boston, NNJ, Greenville, and Cleveland. Market respondents refer to hospital tiers on clout – “must haves,” those with some clout for a particular reason, and those which have little if any leverage. The “Haves and Have Nots” is the phrase commonly heard

10 THE URBAN INSTITUTE “We have clout not because of our size but…who we are. Am I supposed to apologize for that?” -- executive of an academic health center

11 THE URBAN INSTITUTE Various Forms of Provider Consolidation Multi-hospital health care systems Larger single specialty physician groups Hospitals employing physicians Multispecialty group practice and IPAs (but no recent growth pre-ACA) Hospital mergers within a service area

12 THE URBAN INSTITUTE Another Example of How Factors Reinforce Each Other Baptist in Miami – moderate size multihospital system huge presence in South Miami strong reputation cutting edge medicine rivaling the AHC Respondents think Baptist has great leverage because of this confluence of factors

13 THE URBAN INSTITUTE Examples of Terms and Conditions Affected by Leverage Hospital system able to reject “tiered networks” as benefit design or placement in a disadvantageous tier. Able to negotiate outlier policy such that per diems or case rates revert to percent of charges for high cost patients Able to either reject P4P or, more recently, gain incentive payments outside of negotiated rates

14 THE URBAN INSTITUTE The Health Plan Market Terms like “truce” and “détente” used to describe current plan-provider climate. Plans frustrated by lack of support by large employers when contract negotiations have become contentious in the past

15 THE URBAN INSTITUTE Some Markets with Dominant BCBS Plans Write >60% of commercially insured lives -- Boston, Greenville, Lansing, Little Rock, Syracuse (not-profit BCBS plans) and Indy (Anthem/Wellpoint) These plans could “dictate prices” but don’t. Prices have increased far more than medical inflation in recent years

16 THE URBAN INSTITUTE “Blue Cross has this deep and abiding truce with hospitals – ‘you take what we give you and we won’t make your life difficult’” -- Lansing respondent

17 THE URBAN INSTITUTE Why a Monopsony Purchaser Doesn’t Use Its Market Power? Dominant insurers do obtain modestly lower prices than other insurers. However, study respondents point to holding back on potential – it only needs to have an advantage over its smaller competitors, which it can achieve either by formal (Lansing) or informal “most favored nations” approach Consensus is that powerful payers and providers need each other “[Blue Cross] has the leverage, but we get double digit price increases...” – Little Rock provider

18 THE URBAN INSTITUTE Some Policy Implications From the Study Although providers expect “health reform” to change contracting dynamics, they don’t know when or how, and some are pretty confident that they will continue to get healthy rate increases Expect more hospital-physician integration – esp. physician employment by hospitals, whether or not ACOs take off There seems to be only a limited, but important, role for antitrust as a break on consolidation. No current role over multi-hospital systems over broad geographic areas

19 THE URBAN INSTITUTE Will ACOs Help the Situation or Make it Worse? “Unchecked Provider Clout In California Foreshadows Challenges To Health Reform” -- Health Affairs, 2010, by Berenson, Ginsburg, and Kemper California has long featured ACO-like organizations, suggesting that greater efficiency and pricing power can co-exist Risk-taking, although an antitrust safe harbor, does not assure entities will not exercise market power AQC findings confirm that provider groups can and do shop on price, changing the locus of market power from hospitals to medical groups

20 THE URBAN INSTITUTE “Big Medicine”: The Most Important Health Care Topic That Has Been Ignored (Mostly) By Policy Makers – For Better Or Worse

21 THE URBAN INSTITUTE An Initial Listing of Policies to Address Provider Market Power On a continuum from market-oriented to regulatory approaches – ∙ More antitrust enforcement (? state action immunity) ∙Price transparency and consumer education ∙Renewal of narrow/tiered plan networks ∙Competition among risk-bearing medical groups ∙Spotlighting/jawboning/self-regulation/cost targets ∙Indirectly by limiting premium increases ∙Putting an upper limit on negotiated rates ∙Dispute resolution, e.g., baseball-style arbitration ∙All-payer rate setting, a la Maryland


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