Empire Center, an independent, non-partisan, non-profit think tank, reports the New York City Council Committee on Hospitals is debating the establishing of a watchdog agency focused on the high price of hospital care in New York, with a goal of helping the city and other employers contain the rapidly rising cost of health benefits for workers.
The proposed Office of Healthcare Accountability would be charged with:
- Gathering and analyzing data on hospital prices from the city’s benefit funds and other publicly available sources.
- Publishing comparisons of hospital prices in a consumer-friendly format.
- Monitoring hospitals’ compliance with pricing transparency laws.
- Gauging hospitals’ charitable services for the poor and uninsured.
- Auditing the city’s expenditures on health-care benefits for employees and retirees.
- Making recommendations on how to control the city’s health-care and hospital costs.
A coalition in favor of the bill – spearheaded by the 32BJ Health Fund, which covers 200,000 unionized building service workers – includes an array of the city’s unions. The bill is cosponsored by 44 of the council’s 51 members.