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Provider Monopolies: Choking Off our Ability to Improve the Competitiveness of the Health Care Sector. Robert Murray March 1, 2013 The American Enterprise Institute. [email protected] Topics to Cove r. Catalyst for Payment Reform – Background Framing the Problem

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Provider monopolies choking off our ability to improve the competitiveness of the health care sector

Provider Monopolies: Choking Off our Ability to Improve the Competitiveness of the Health Care Sector

Robert Murray

March 1, 2013

The American Enterprise Institute

[email protected]


Topics to cove r

Topics to Cover

  • Catalyst for Payment Reform – Background

  • Framing the Problem

  • Evidence finally catching up with reality – we have a significant Provider-based Monopoly Problem in our Health Sector

  • Recent trends mask underlying implications of consolidation and the Accountable Care Act will exacerbate the Problem

  • Profound economic and social implications for Americans

  • Current tools to improve the Competitiveness of the Health Care Market are being Choked off by Dominant Providers

  • A case of “Dumb and Dumber”

  • Possible Approaches


Paper commissioned by catalyst for payment reform cpr

Paper Commissioned by Catalyst for Payment Reform (CPR)

  • CPR formed in 2009

  • Independent non-profit led by health care purchasers

  • Identifying & coordinating workable solutions to improve how we pay for health care

  • Mission to accelerate reforms to promote the IOM’s 6 aims

  • Creating a national framework for paymentreform along with tools that catalyze change & align public/private strategies

Co-Author Suzanne Delbanco:

http://www.catalyzepaymentreform.org/uploads/Market_Power_Paper.pdf


Framing the problem

Framing the Problem

  • Per capita health care spending has been twice that of most other industrialized countries; 18% of GDP; unsustainable growth, yadayada

  • Early 2000s – growing realization that Unit Prices were a major factor differentiating the U.S. from other OECD countries

  • Trend in Health Care charges and pricing correlated with business strategies of hospitals and health systems to consolidate

  • Increasing use of local and regional market power by providers to extract larger prices increases from private insurer

  • Exacerbated by employers distaste for narrow provider networks

Health Affairs Journal

May/June 2003

Post Managed

Care Era


Seen evidence of this for a while hospitals charge master mark ups

Seen Evidence of this for a while: Hospitals Charge Master Mark-ups

Hospitals nationally mark

up their charges

200% above cost

In 2009

Source: American Hospital Association statistics 1980 - 2009


It s the prices

It’s the Prices!

What Accounts for the Difference between U.S. and German Spending on Health Care

Our Unit Prices are Much Higher!

Offset each other

McKinsey Global Institute: Decomposition of spending Germany vs. U.S. (taken from Reinhardt U.E. 2012. Journal of Economics)


And it is getting worse

And it is Getting Worse

Growth in Prices Paid by Private Payer for Hospital Inpatient Care vs. Growth in the Hospital Market Basket Index 1992-2010

Sommers AC, White, Ginsburg PB. Addressing hospital pricing leverage through regulation: state rate setting. NIHCR Policy Analysis No. 9, 2012.


Consolidation trends 1990 2006

Consolidation Trends 1990 - 2006

Consolidation Trends: change in HHIs 1990 vs. 2006. Taken from Gaynor M. 2011. Testimony before House Subcommittee on Health.


Provider monopolies choking off our ability to improve the competitiveness of the health care sector

Trends in Charges and Pricing Coincide with Dramatic increases in Provider Concentration (based on HHIs)

Taken from Capps and Dranove2011. AHIP Presentation (Bates-White)


Industry highly concentrated in 2009

Industry Highly Concentrated in 2009

Taken from Capps and Dranove2011. AHIP Presentation (Bates-White)


And yet health care costs are finally under control really

And Yet, Health Care Costs are Finally Under Control! (really?)

  • “Growth in U.S. health spending remains slow in 2010 at 3.9%”

  • US health spending growth in 2009 - 2011 were the lowest in the 51-year history of tracking National Health Expenditures

  • “the tectonic plates underlying the health system are beginning to shift in anticipation of new incentives under health reform”

  • The Wall Street Journal: The Myth of Runaway Health Spending

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, January 9, 2012

Karen Davis, Commonwealth Fund, January 18, 2012

“The moderation has been driven by cumulative improvements in

medical care and by insurers, and by marketplace disciplines on the

demand for medical care. Consumers are finallygetting more involved

in managing and paying for their own care.”

J.D. Klein, American Enterprise Institute, February 17, 2012


Need a longer term perspective on health costs

Need a Longer-Term Perspective on Health Costs

But so is GDP Trend line

  • National Health Expenditures (NHE) = GDP +2% “excess cost growth”

  • Trend line for NHE appears to be declining

  • We haven’t reduced “Excess cost growth” and prices are primary driver

Excess Cost

Growth still

Appears to be

1.5 to 2.5%

Source: CMS Office of the Actuary 2012 & U. Reinhardt Economix Blog - The New York Times


Sad history of health reform in one chart

Sad History of Health Reform in One Chart

  • Tempting to view more recent favorable trends as a sign we’ve “broken the back of the health care cost monster”

  • But we’ve seen this dynamic before “no approach our nation has tried to control costs has had a lasting impact” – Drew Altman

  • Current efforts to control costs – largely voluntary

Or Too soon tobreak out the Champagne and celebrate?

1965 enactment

Medicare/Medicaid

“Voluntary”

Effort vs. Carter

All-Payer Proposal

Medicare

IPPS

Managed

Care

Broken

The Back

Of the Health

Care Inflation

Monster?

Wage/Price

Controls


Facing up to reality we have a significant monopoly problem in our health care sector

Facing up to Reality – We have a Significant Monopoly Problem in our Health Care Sector

Evidence finally catching up with reality – we have a significant Provider-based Monopoly Problem in our Health Sector:

The changing effects of competition on nonprofit and for-profit hospital pricing behavior (Melnick 1999)

It’s the prices stupid (Anderson 2003)

How has hospital consolidation affected the price and quality of hospital care? (Vogt and Town 2006)

Accounting for the cost of Health Care in the U.S. (McKinsey 2007)

High and rising health care costs: demystifying U.S. Health Care Spending (Ginsburg 2008)

The effects of multi-hospital systems on hospital prices (Melnick 2010)

Wide variation in hospital and physician payment rates evidence of provider market power (Ginsburg 2010 – CPR)

Massachusetts AG reports on provider pricing (2010, 2011)

More evidence of of the association between hospital market concentration and higher prices and profits (Robinson 2011)

The Provider Monopoly Problem in Health Care (Havighurst & Richman 2011)

Growing power of providers to win steep payment increases from insurers suggests policy remedies may be needed (Berenson 2012)

Overcoming the pricing power of hospitals (Kocher 2012)

Bitter Pill: Why medical bills are killing us (Time Magazine, Brill 2013)


Despite slowing of health care cost growth prices are still primary drivers

Despite Slowing of Health Care Cost Growth – Prices are still Primary Drivers

Massachusetts Spending Growth by Cost-Driver Category (2007-2008 and 2008-2009)

“prices to explain nearly all of the

increase in expenditures”

Schoenman, J.A., N. Chockley. 2012. Understanding U.S. Health Care Spending. National Institute for Health Care Management (NICHM) Webinar. February 2, 2012. Available from:  

Factors Accounting for Growth in Personal Health Care Spending, 1980-2009

Their analysis showed that “prices accounted for more than 60% of the increase in overall spending in 2010”

Martin A, Lassman D, Whittle L, Catlin A. Recession contributes to slowest annual rate of increase in health spending in five decades. Health Aff (Milbank) 2011;30(1): 11-22.


Consolidation drives higher prices and distorted pricing

Consolidation Drives Higher Prices and Distorted Pricing

  • Importance of the Pricing Mechanism in Competitive Markets

    • Means by which millions of decisions made each day between consumers and producers to determine the proper allocation of resources

    • Serves an important “signaling” function to express preferences

    • Invisible hand by which markets remain dynamic and efficient

  • By contrast prices in the US Health Care Market characterized as a “Byzantine mélange of different bases & different payment rates”

  • Substantial recent evidence of this from CA, NJ, NH, and MA & Time Magazine article discusses the “madness of MD Anderson”

  • Private payers pay on the basis of these distorted Charge Masters

  • Fragmented pricing system with no relationship to cost, sends the wrong signals, does not encourage efficient/effective outcomes

  • Not consistent with what one would view as a competitive result


Hospitals pursuing other tactics to lock up the market

Hospitals Pursuing other Tactics to Lock Up the Market

  • Also – more subtle factors that are firmly “tilting” the advantage in negotiations toward providers (Berenson/Ginsburg 2012)

    • “Must have” Hospitals/Specialized Services

    • Geographic Isolation

    • Ability to negotiate one contract for constituent facilities across a broad area

    • “Most Favored Nation” clauses (Michigan Blue Cross)

  • Private payers acquiescing - wishing only to be “just better than their competing health plans” but passing on double digit increases

  • ACA may be providing increased “cover” for further integration (both horizontal and vertical)

  • “Consumer Risks Feared as Health Law Spurs Mergers” New York Times 2010

  • “Rising hospital employment of physicians: better quality, higher cost?” (Urban Institute 2011)


Merger activity appears to be ticking up

Merger Activity appears to be Ticking Up


Hospitals buying up physician practices

Hospitals Buying up Physician Practices

“Hospitals are trying to wrap themselves in a physician employment blanket, but the

cost per square inch of that blanket is very high. This is an effort to lock up the game before it even starts (i.e., preclude PCMH and other market-based approaches, incentivize docs based on billings and increase negotiating leverage with payers” Anonymous CEO Major Hospital System

Taken from Gaynor, Statement before the Committee on Ways and Means, Health Subcommittee. Washington DC. September 9, 2011.


Massive engine for reallocating income

Massive Engine for Reallocating Income

  • Health Care Market is Uncompetitive

  • Fragmented Payer Sector and Provider Concentration creates a fundamental power imbalance between buyers and sellers

  • We’ve created a “massive engine for the redistribution of resources from households, tax payers and employers to the organizations who provide care” (Vladeck/Rice 2009)

$

$

$

$

$

$

$

$

$

$

$

Reinhardt, U. 2012. Divide Et Impera: Protecting the Growth of Health Care Incomes (costs). Health Economics. 21:41-54


Implications for the health sector

Implications for the Health Sector

Prevailing Literature supports these conclusions:

  • Substantial evidence consolidation drives up health care expenditures (numerous studies)

  • Little evidence that consolidation results in improved provider efficiency (lower costs)

  • Evidence that consolidation is either neutral or negative in terms of health quality

  • Little evidence that current consolidation is resulting in improved clinical integration

  • Consolidation is not for better care management it is to enhance Market Power under a predominant FFS system


Implications for wage earners

Implications for Wage Earners

  • Employers believe they foot the bill for nearly 60% of individuals enrolled in employer sponsored insurance plans (21% of spending)

  • Tax deductibility of health insurance and other factors hide the fact that employees and consumers foot the bill for increased spending on health care – through near zero real wage growth, layoffs and increases in product prices

  • Providers counter that “the Health Sector has been an engine of economic growth” in recent years

  • Recent RAND study quantifies increase in “excess health spending” results in job losses (121,00 for every 0.1% above GDP growth)

  • From these data, calculated that for every job we add to the health sector, we sacrifice 0.85 jobs in the rest of the economy

  • At best a “wildly inefficient jobs program” (Baicker & Chandra NEJM)


Implications for the economy

Implications for the Economy

  • Spending 18%+ of GDP crowds out needed investment in infrastructure, education and defense (hospital spending > defense spending now)

  • “We don’t have an overall spending problem in the U.S. We have a humongous health spending problem” (Blinder, Wall Street Journal 2011)

  • “This collision [between increased spending and inability to raise taxes] cannot be avoided by borrowing. Debt to GDP ratios of 80-90% raise the risk of a viscous downward cycle” (Newhouse 2010)

  • U.S. currently at 70-75% Debt to GDP

  • Dollar as Reserve currency and other factors – U.S. can likely have Debt to GDP ratio far in excess of these levels (we are on track to go much higher)

  • Real concern is we have no more “economic space” to weather another financial crisis (and we’ve had two in the past 12 years)

  • Health care spending will be a significant drag on long-term economic growth


Two tiered health care system

Two-Tiered Health Care System?

Payments as a Percentage of Hospital Cost

  • Real danger that current and planned Government spending cuts may precipitate further consolidation and higher prices to the private sector

  • May lead to a diminishment of access and increasing lack of affordability of private insurance

  • Will the <65 middle class increasingly be left out of the system?

Middle

Class ?

Source: American Hospital Association Chart Book 2011


Public private divide could this happen

Public-Private Divide (could this happen)?

Is it plausible that Medicare payments to hospitals can dip down to half those of private health insurers by 2035 without creating enormous problems for hospitals and the patients they serve? (CBO estimates 2012 – Incidental Economist blog, Austin Frakt)


Study looked at three categories of potential solutions

Study looked at Three Categories of Potential Solutions


Study looked at three categories of potential solutions1

Study looked at Three Categories of Potential Solutions

Market-Based

Regulatory/Policy

Coordinated Public/Private

Promote Consumer- Directed Health Plans

Utilize value-based insurance design

Implement Reference and Value Pricing

Establish Tiered, Narrow and high performance Networks

Utilize Centers of Excellence

Provide Oversight over ACOs

Reconsider benefits of Manage Care and Managed Competition Concept

Encourage entry of Low-cost Competitors

Promote new technologies that enhance competition

Improve the accuracy of the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule

Modify Medicare IPPS and OPPS (Volume adjustments)

State Department of Insurance efforts to oversee payer-provider contracting

Baseball-style arbitration

Establish limits on price-gouging: “Maximum Price Obligations” for insurers

Health Insurance Exchanges pursuit of Active Purchasing Strategies

All Payer Rate Setting

Eliminate Preferential Tax treatment of health benefits

Expand Transparency

Develop state or national All-payer claims data bases

More vigorous Anti-Trust (post merger) activity

Align public and private payment strategies and purchasing power

Promote development of more effective payment structures (Global Budget based mechanisms)

Increased investment in Primary Care and Primary Care Work force

Incentivize Primary Care Physicians to be sensitive to Hospital Prices (PCHM)


Market failures monopoly power choke off many of these alternatives

Market Failures & Monopoly Power Choke off many of these Alternatives

Expanded Transparency may help

But patients need more than just

Posted prices. We need legitimate comparisons/rankings and assistance from physicians in making informed decisions

Market-Based

Regulatory/Policy

Coordinated Public/Private

Clear Limits to Cost-Shift to Consumers& do we think patients can be powerful shoppers?

Promote Consumer- Directed Health Plans

Utilize value-based insurance design

Implement Reference and Value Pricing

Establish Tiered, Narrow and high performance Networks

Utilize Centers of Excellence

Provide Oversight over ACOs

Reconsider benefits of Manage Care and Managed Competition Concept

Encourage entry of Low-cost Competitors

Promote new technologies that enhance competition

Improve the accuracy of the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule

Modify Medicare IPPS and OPPS (Volume adjustments)

State Department of Insurance efforts to oversee payer-provider contracting

Baseball-style arbitration

Establish limits on price-gouging: “Maximum Price Obligations” for insurers

Health Insurance Exchanges pursuit of Active Purchasing Strategies

All-payer Rate Setting

Eliminate Preferential Tax treatment of health benefits

Expand Transparency

Develop state or national All-payer claims data bases

More vigorous Anti-Trust (post merger) activity

Align public and private payment strategies and purchasing power

Promote development of more effective payment structures (Global Budget based mechanisms)

Increased investment in Primary Care and Primary Care Work force

Incentivize Primary Care Physicians to be sensitive to Hospital Prices (PCHM)

Anti-trust laws are not vigorous enough – and the “cows are all out of the barn.” Impossible to do retro-cases

Dominant Providers have been

Successful in Choking off many of

These efforts: Preferred Networks,

Efforts by payers to steer patients

(Just look at the Boston Market)

Going “Direct” is positive (COE)

But very small impact

ACOs are largely hospital-driven

And don’t prescribe an effective

Non-FFS internal financing system

Low Cost competitors like “Steward” in New England a positive development – but most just “Shadow price” the big boys

All-Payer rate setting at the state level is to complex and subject to Regulatory Capture

New Technology Development

Holds some promise but very slow

To develop (reg. barriers)


Provider monopolies choking off our ability to improve the competitiveness of the health care sector

5) Then other Market-

Based activities will have

More of a chance to succeed

Primary Focus should be on Pushing Back on Existing Market Power, Rationalizing Public Payment Strategies and Empowering Physicians

Market-Based

Regulatory/Policy

Coordinated Public/Private

Promote Consumer- Directed Health Plans

Utilize value-based insurance design

Implement Reference and Value Pricing

Establish Tiered, Narrow and high performance Networks

Utilize Centers of Excellence

Provide Oversight over ACOs

Reconsider benefits of Manage Care and Managed Competition Concept

Encourage entry of Low-cost Competitors

Promote new technologies that enhance competition

Improve the accuracy of the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule

Modify Medicare IPPS and OPPS (Volume adjustments)

State Department of Insurance efforts to oversee payer-provider contracting

Baseball-style arbitration

Establish limits on price-gouging: “Maximum Price Obligations” for insurers

Health Insurance Exchanges pursuit of Active Purchasing Strategies

All Payer Rate Setting

Eliminate Preferential Tax treatment of health benefits

Expand Transparency

Develop state or national All-payer claims data bases

More vigorous Anti-Trust (post merger) activity

Align public and private payment strategies and purchasing power

Promote development of more effective payment structures (Global Budget based mechanisms)

Increased investment in Primary Care and Primary Care Work force

Incentivize Primary Care Physicians to be sensitive to Hospital Prices (PCHM)

2) Rationalize RBRVS, Modify IPPS/OPPS (adopt a volume adjustment mechanism) to shut down providers’ incentive to do unnecessary services

4) Increase investments

Substantially – in Primary

Care (workforce/support)

1) Establish limits on Price-

Gouging: “Maximum Price

Obligations for Insurers and

Self-responsible patients

3) Public/Private efforts

to incentivize physicians

(PCPs) to be more sensitive

to hospital/specialist prices

and relative efficiency


Maximum price obligation concept

Maximum Price Obligation Concept

  • Some strong evidence from MedPAC that Medicare Advantage plans pay substantially lower rates to dominant providers

  • Fallback Theory: Medicare paid fee schedule if they can’t negotiate

  • This substantially reduces provider leverage in the negotiation process

  • One alternative is to focus on areas where Hospitals have complete monopoly power (Emergency Services)

  • MPO for ER services 125-150% of Medicare would apply to all

  • Consistent with “Implied Contract” concept discussed by Richman/Hall in NEJM 2012

  • Uninsured & out-of-network patients completely price gouged; payers completely emasculated if 15-20% of patients to through ER


Maximum price obligation concept continued

Maximum Price Obligation Concept (continued)

  • In an ideal world, MPO concept should be applied to everyone (both privately insured and self-responsible patients) for all hospital services

  • National legislation – not possible at the State level (political capture)

  • Leading States have been ineffective at cost control (Massachusetts, Maryland and others)

  • Dominant providers have significant political sway and are able to hold off meaningful legislation and/or enter into arrangements (Like ACOs) that buy them several years

  • In the mean time – consolidation continues and as the economy improves health care costs will rise once again in dramatic fashion


Provider monopolies choking off our ability to improve the competitiveness of the health care sector

Government as a “Dumb Price Fixer”

  • “Former Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) administrator Tom Scully described Medicare as a “dumb price fixer.” Perhaps so.

  • Yet, one would be hard put, to defend the current bizarre private-sector price system that produces data such as those shown in the tables as any less dumb.

  • “Dumber might be the more appropriate word”

  • At least Medicare gets the “relatives” closer to being right and Medicare payment levels do approximate the cost of efficient and effective hospital care (Stensland et. al. Health Affairs 2009)

  • Over the short-term: My suggestion - Empower the Private sector by establishing a series of Max price ceilings to level the playing field in negotiations

  • Empower PCPs (align their incentives with patients and payers)

  • Rationalize and align Public payer payment methodologies (RVRBS/Volume adjustments for IPPS/OPPS)

  • Then strongly pursue activities designed to make the market more competitive

Uwe Reinhardt: Health Affairs blog.

“A modest proposal” September 2009


Discussion questions

Discussion/Questions?

Thanks!


National summit on provider market power june 11 2013 washington dc

National Summit on Provider Market PowerJune 11, 2013 Washington, DC

  • Catalyst for Payment Reform invites you to attend our National Summit on Provider Market Power on June 11, 2013 in Washington, DC.  Sponsored by Health Affairs, this day-long event will provide the opportunity to delve into the double-edged issue of provider consolidation with the nation’s top experts.

  • Speakers include HCCI's Marty Gaynor, The Urban Institute's Bob Berenson, MEDPAC's Mark Miller, representatives from the FTC and DOJ, leaders from prominent provider systems, key employers like Wal-Mart Stores, Inc and GE, and Thomas O'Brien, Massachusetts' Assistant Attorney General.

  • Topics include:

  • * Consolidation trends

  • * Impact on cost and quality

  • * How health care providers are thinking

  • * Market-based approaches to enhancing provider competition

  • * The role of price transparency

  • * The employer’s perspective

  • * Public policy and regulatory responses

  • * Creating a utility to monitor impact

  • * Balancing care fragmentation with too big to fail


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