Democratic and Republican Senate Leaders Team Up to Share Bipartisan Hospitals and Health Care Reform Ideas

March 11, 2015

Hartford – Senate President Martin M. Looney (D-New Haven) and Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano (R-North Haven) today presented a bipartisan package of legislative proposals on hospital and health care reforms. Their proposed bills were drafted in response to a shifting healthcare landscape as well as discussions held over the past four months by the bipartisan Hospitals Roundtable, a group created and co-chaired by Looney and Fasano.

“The healthcare system is changing with blinding speed and we must be sure that these changes serve the interests of the people of our state,” said Sen. Looney. “In Connecticut and across the country we have seen a pattern of anticompetitive practices that have resulted in increased cost for consumers. Our goal, through this proposed legislation, is to ensure that Connecticut residents have access to affordable, quality medical care. I look forward to a continued bipartisan partnership with Sen. Fasano as we move forward in addressing these issues.”

“We have a flawed health care market that reimburses hospitals at a higher rate for the very same care and incentivizes hospitals to purchase physician practices to generate more revenue through increased rates,” said Sen. Fasano. “This environment allows larger hospitals and health systems to leverage their market power and demand higher rates from all payers. These market conditions and the future of care in Connecticut are extremely concerning to Democrats and Republicans alike, which is why Sen. Looney and I came together on this issue.

“It was a privileged to work with Sen. Looney on a matter that is so important to Connecticut and I am sure that we will be able to work together on future legislation in a bipartisan manner in order to move Connecticut forward. Advancing this legislation will make Connecticut a national leader in addressing price disparity and market power and ensuring costs are transparent and care is accessible,” said Fasano.

Together, the bipartisan legislative proposals aim to:

  • Present comprehensive initiatives to reduce costs for consumers
  • Maintain access to affordable quality care
  • Empower consumers to make the best health care decisions for them and their families
  • Support low cost high quality providers to ensure continued diversity and competition in the market

Prior to testifying in front of the Connecticut General Assembly’s Public Health Committee, Looney and Fasano shared details about the following proposed bills at a press conference in Hartford:

  • SB 809 An Act Concerning Facility Fees would cap facility fees at $100, would require insurance to cover the costs of facility fees, and would prohibit facility fees for certain procedures that can be performed safely in outpatient settings.
  • SB 813 An Act Concerning Health Care Price, Cost and Quality Transparency would aim to make healthcare costs more transparent and make pricing available to patients. The proposed legislation would facilitate the development of a consumer health information website to allow consumers to compare cost and quality data, would require providers to give consumers timely information about the price of procedures and services, would require insurers to establish toll free numbers and websites to provide information on service charges and how much the insurer will be responsible for paying, and would require hospitals to participate in a nationally recognized cost and quality rating system to give patients information about their performance.
  • S.B. 811 An Act Concerning Parity in Hospital Sales Oversight would apply our state’s hospital conversion process to sales between non-profit entities. This bill aims to prevent non-profit health systems from engaging in anticompetitive behavior to stop health care costs from going up. This legislation would require thorough and thoughtful review of any hospital sale and hold non-profits to the same requirements for-profits to meet during a hospital sale. In addition, it would require the state to consider the potential negative impact on the community if a proposed sale is not approved, and weigh these potential effects against the conditions the state wishes to impose.

Senator Looney and Senator Fasano co-introduced a total of nine hospital and health care bills:

  • Proposed S.B. No. 807 An Act Concerning Fairness and Efficiency in Health Insurance Contracting
  • Proposed S.B. No. 808 An Act Concerning Surprise Billing
  • Proposed S.B. No. 809 An Act Concerning Facility Fees
  • Proposed S.B. No. 810 An Act Establishing a Special Commission on Provider Price Variation and Reform
  • Proposed S.B. No. 811 An Act Concerning Parity in Hospital Sales Oversight
  • Proposed S.B. No. 812 An Act Concerning Electronic Health Records and Health Information Exchange
  • Proposed S.B. No. 813 An Act Concerning Health Care Price, Cost and Quality Transparency
  • Proposed S.B. No. 814 An Act Promoting Accountable Care Collaboratives
  • Proposed S.B. No. 815 An Act Concerning Health Care Policy and Cost Containment

Click here to review Senator Looney and Senator Fasano’s testimony presentation.