Fasano introduces legislation to curb health care costs [Record-Journal]

March 31, 2015

Special to the Record-Journal

The skyrocketing cost of health care in Connecticut prompted Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano and Senate President Martin Looney to present a package of nine legislative proposals to the Public Health committee on March 11.

The proposals were developed over the past four months by the Hospitals Roundtable group, co-chaired by Fasano and Looney.

The legislation is a bipartisan effort and “the first time we can recall two leaders on opposite sides of the aisle getting together on a major piece of legislation,” Fasano said. “It started a year ago when Mr. Looney and I caught on to the fact that there have been skyrocketing health care costs in the New Haven area as a result of a massive buyout of doctor practices. The control of the market led to higher than anticipated medical costs, so we embarked on the roundtable, heard from hospitals and practitioners, and representatives from Massachusetts and Rhode Island came to share what they have done in their states.”

Fasano said Connecticut has no controls or polices regulating health care costs. “It’s like the wild West of health care; no one knows how much to pay, there is no transparency and arcane rules for letting doctors’ groups negotiate rates.”

He said patients as well as insurance companies pay the high rates, such as $12,000 for chemotherapy, which had been $2,000 before it was taken over by large hospitals. Facility fees have also increased, from $100 to $1,000, Fasano said.

Fasano and Looney introduced measures that would cap facility fees and make health care costs transparent via the introduction of a website that will enable consumers to compare cost and quality data.
Making health costs transparent “rewards those who look for quality care at low prices and rewards doctors and hospitals that can provide quality care at low rates, and will influence those rates,” Fasano said.

He said the Public health committee will “put some meat and bones on the legislation and we hope to get it out of committee.” He said the legislation will be voted on by the Senate and passed to the House where “a lot of members like it, so hopefully we’ll get it out.”