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Minnesota health care data bill to prohibit price transparency initiatives

An interesting commentary in The Star Tribune relating to a bill (S.F. 1818) which is currently working its way through Minnesota Senate.  This Minnesota health care data bill would prohibit the identification of individual payers, providers, hospitals or clinics. As the legislation is written, according to the commentary authors, if the state’s all-payer claims database contained Medicare, Medicaid and commercial claims, distinguishing data based on whether claims involved a state payer (Medicaid), a federal payer (Medicare), or a commercial payer (even aggregated), would be prohibited. While the bill supports analysis at the geographic, community and population level, many communities do not have competing hospital systems or specialist provider groups, so effective analysis even at these levels may be difficult. Moreover, it is generally understood that prices vary more within markets than across markets, so studies of small markets, prohibited by S.F. 1818, are key but here are prohibited.  S.F. 1818 would prohibit the state of Minnesota from sharing its data, even without patient data attached, with health care price transparency initiatives. It would even prevent the state from pursuing its own transparency initiative, as some states are contemplating.

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